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Rodd Baxley | The Fayetteville Observer | April 17, 2019

Duke's Zion Williamson declares for NBA draft after 'best year of my life'

Duke Blue Devils vs. Michigan State Spartans: Game Highlights

The suspense is over: Duke's Zion Williamson is entering the NBA draft after one remarkable season with the Blue Devils.

On Monday, the high-flying internet sensation made it official via his Instagram account.

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🔵Thank you Duke🔵#thebrotherhood

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"Thank you for making this year the best year of my life," Williamson said in a video message.

"I don't think I can put into words how special this year was. Everything about this team was special. Learning from Coach K was special. He taught me so much about the game of basketball in one year, it made me sit back and go 'Wow, I didn't know anything.'"

DUKE BASKETBALL: Zion Williamson wins Naismith Trophy as 2019 most outstanding men’s college basketball player

Williamson won both Atlantic Coast Conference and national player of the year honors after averaging 22.6 points and 8.9 rebounds per game for Duke, which won the ACC tournament title and advanced to the Elite Eight. He won the Wooden Award, the Naismith Award and was named player of the year by the Associated Press and the U.S. Basketball Writers Association.

The 6-foot-7, 285-pound Spartanburg, South Carolina, native is the unanimous pick to be selected first in June's draft. Williamson put on a show throughout his lone season with the Blue Devils, living up to his reputation as a vicious, mesmerizing dunker while showing off the other parts of his game.

Despite missing five games due to a right knee sprain, Williamson led the Blue Devils in points, rebounds, steals and blocks this season. He made 68 percent of his shots, including 33 percent of his 3-point attempts.

He joins teammates R.J. Barrett and Cam Reddish in giving up his final three years of college eligibility to pursue a professional career. All three freshmen are projected top-10 picks. Point guard Tre Jones is the lone rookie starter set to return for a second season in Durham.

DUNK REPORT: A full tracker of Zion Williamson's best dunks from the 2018-2019 season

The No. 1 pick in this year's draft will be decided in the NBA Draft lottery on May 14. The Cleveland Cavaliers, New York Knicks and Phoenix Suns have the best chance (14 percent) of landing the top pick.

This article is written by Rodd Baxley from The Fayetteville Observer, N.C. and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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