Syracuse's Jim Boeheim thinks Zion Williamson won't dominate like he did at Duke


For as much as Zion Williamson, the presumed No. 1 pick in next month's NBA draft, dominated in college, Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim thinks he'll face some tougher challenges at the professional level.

"He's physical and you can't match him. I think the NBA will match him a little bit better," Boeheim said on MSG Network, according to the New York Post's Marc Berman. "I think he won't be able to do some of the things he did in college."

No, Boeheim isn't bitter about Williamson putting up 35 points and 10 rebounds in a January matchup (that the Orange won) or when the 6-foot-7, 285-pound freshman phenom eliminated Syracuse from the ACC tournament with a 29-point, 14-rebound effort in the quarterfinals.

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In fact, he lauded Williamson for being a "once-in-a-lifetime player in college basketball."

But at the NBA level, Boeheim thinks Williamson will need to do more than make explosive dunks and highlight-reel blocks on a regular basis.

"Over the course of the regular season, [Williamson will] be a hard guard to defend and handle,'' Boeheim said. "I think when it comes to playoff basketball, he's going to have to expand his game a little bit. There's a lot of size in the NBA, people forget there's a lot of big, strong guys in the NBA. In college, he was by far the strongest, toughest guy to me in college basketball."

Williamson, the consensus men's college player of the year, averaged 22.6 points and 8.9 rebounds for the Blue Devils, who lost in the Elite Eight this season.

For as dynamic a star as he was with Duke, he did shoot just 33.8 percent from 3-point range and had a 64 percent free-throw percentage. Perhaps those are aspects he looks to build upon. 

The draft lottery is Tuesday, and Williamson has been diplomatic about which team he hopes lands the No. 1 pick.

"Whatever NBA team I land on, that's where I want to be," Williamson said last month.

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