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DeMarcus Cousins On Whether Zion Williamson Should Return This Season: "College Basketball Is Bullshit"

Photo: Christian Petersen (Getty Images)

Duke freshman Zion Williamson’s college career is suddenly up in the air after he tore through the side of his shoe and hurt his knee Wednesday night. If we take the school at its word that the injury isn’t serious, Williamson will have to decide if he wants to go on the shelf in preparation for the draft or take his only shot to win a college national championship. Former Kentucky one-and-done DeMarcus Cousins was asked about Williamson’s predicament today, and he was unequivocal: Don’t risk your health to play for free.

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“College basketball is bullshit,” Cousins said, because of “just how crooked the whole NCAA business is.”

Obviously when I was at that age, you know, you enjoy the moment. You enjoy the experience and all that. But there’s so many risks involved to get to the ultimate goal, which is the next level.

The Warriors center also discussed the inherent unfairness of the one-and-done rule:

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From a straight-up economic perspective, Williamson stands only to lose money by playing the Blue Devils’ final five regular-season games, as well as how ever many they play in the ACC and NCAA Tournaments. But a straight-up economic perspective might not be the only thing the top pick will take into consideration:

“Individual goals and stuff, that’s not important to us,” [Williamson] said. “Everybody comes to college to try to win a national championship. I think that’s the final goal for everybody on this team.”

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Williamson said he wanted to win a title—in an interview for NCAA.com, of course—before he sprained his knee. Does he still care about that now? It’d be completely understandable if he didn’t.

Cousins didn’t make it to a national title game, or even a Final Four, in his year at Kentucky, but at this point in his career he has the perspective to realize that college achievements don’t really matter. Williamson’s draft stock won’t be affected if he wins a title, but it could be if he ends up getting hurt again. In a better world, he wouldn’t have to agonize over this decision as much, because he would already be getting paid.

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