OAKLAND (CBS SF) — The talents of Duke freshman Zion Williamson have not gone unnoticed by his future NBA opponents, including Golden State Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins.
Like Williamson, Cousins was a highly-touted college freshman. He also was a ‘one-and-done’ player, leaving Kentucky after competing for just one season.
On Wednesday night, Williamson suffered a mild knee sprain when he slipped awkwardly in a game against North Carolina and his left shoe fell apart. The mishap could have led to a more serious injury, impacting his potential to be a future top draft pick in the NBA Draft.
During the Warriors shootaround, Cousins was asked what advice he would give Williamson.
“College is bull…t,” the outspoken veteran said. “My advice to him is to do what is best for his family. Obviously, college basketball does nothing for you at this point. You’ve proven you’re the No. 1 pick coming out. You’ve proven your talent. Get ready for the next level. It’s happening. That’s my opinion. Knowing what I know now.”
While it has become common for top college football players to forgo post-season competition as they get ready for the NFL draft, it has not happened it college basketball. At least, not yet.
“Obviously when I was at that age, you enjoy the moment. You enjoy the experience (of college),” he said. “But there are so many risks involved to get to this level.”
Denver Nuggets guard Isaiah Thomas, who skipped his senior year at Washington to turn pro in 2011, also encouraged Williamson to quit playing college ball and move up to the “big boy league,” saying in a tweet, “Too much on the line to be messing with college if you got a legit chance to turn pro.”
Cousins told reporters he didn’t want them to think he did not enjoy his time at Kentucky.
“I loved my experience in college,” he said. “That was some of the best years of my life playing basketball. With that being said just how crooked the whole NCAA business is … I actually saw a post the other day where the highest ticket for the UN-Duke game was $2500-$3500 … How much does Zion Williamson get? That’s who they are coming to see … How does it benefit him playing on that team?”
“If he were to get $20 and a free meal, he’d be a bad kid and get a bad rep … It’s big bull…t.”
Cousins said instead of requiring a player to attend one year in college, he’s in favor of allowing them to play in the NBA’s G League.
When asked if he ever had a shoe fail like Williamson’s Nike shoes: “Not in the pros,” said Cousins, who wears Pumas, with a smile.