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Inside Zion Williamson's injury, a busted shoe and a busted knee

Inside Zion Williamson's injury, a busted shoe and a busted knee

In the opening moments of last night's matchup between the Duke Blue Devils and the North Carolina Tar Heels at Cameron Indoor Stadium, the sports world came to a standstill.

The most anticipated clash of the season between two of the most storied programs in the history of college basketball made this the big-ticket event that you did not want to miss. 

Tickets for the bout reached astronomical numbers, rivaling the Super Bowl that took place just weeks ago. Waiting until the morning of the event to purchase a seat? $2,755 on StubHub.

With Ken Griffey Jr., President Barack Obama, and Spike Lee in attendance for the highly-touted scrum, Durham, North Carolina, was the place to be.

And then just like that, thirty seconds after the tip, the sports world stopped.

Dribbling around the key, on the first possession of the night, Zion Williamson's shoe disintegrated in front of the world. The defect caused him to slide, his knee buckling as a result of it and he landed on the floor in pain.

Williamson, the presumed #1 Pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, the most brute, physical specimen that college basketball has seen in decades, became human. 

James Gilbert, a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon at The Centers for Advanced Orthopaedics who has served as the team physician for Duke Sports Medicine, US Soccer, DC United, the Dallas Cowboys and the Dallas Mavericks, was watching the contest at Cameron Indoor on television last evening and saw the event in real time.

"I don't know if there's ever been an event bigger than this directly in the public eye," said Gilbert. "I've seen it occur in soccer because they have studs in the turf, but never on a basketball court. He's a one in a generation athlete."

Despite being a lifelong fan of his alma mater and wanting to see the most polarizing force in recent memory, Gilbert trusts the judgment and decision to keep Zion out for the remainder of the game.

“I know the doctors at Duke; they would never jeopardize an athlete,” he said. "He's lucky the end result is just a knee sprain, it could have been a lot worse. It's good that the main hospital is only 200 yards away from where he fell."

After Coach Mike Krzyzewski announced that Williamson had suffered a knee sprain, many people wanted the details. How bad was it? How long is he going to be out? 

As in consistent Duke fashion, no info was revealed on the injury and no specifics were given. 

Speculation about the injury began to go mainstream. Questions arose about his future in college basketball, whether he should or should not sit out the rest of his freshman, and likely only season, at the collegiate ranks to prepare for the NBA Draft.

"I've met Zion, I'm sure he wanted to go back in," said Gilbert. "He's had no prior knee injuries to my knowledge and it appears to just be a result of the defective shoe. These shoes are made to grip and cut. They need to start making shoes for larger than average athletes like him."

Gilbert doesn't expect Williamson to be out long, he believes the team was extra cautious in handling last night's situation. 

Zion Williamson will have all the time he needs to recover, and college basketball will be ready for his return, whenever that may be. 

Jim Boeheim does not mince words on former Georgetown Hoya James Akinjo

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Jim Boeheim does not mince words on former Georgetown Hoya James Akinjo

WASHINGTON - Do not expect James Akinjo to transfer to Syracuse this season.  

Orange head coach Jim Boeheim had some harsh words for the former Georgetown guard. Critical of Akinjo's overall approach to the game, Boeheim attributed his removal from the team to Georgetown's three-game winning streak. 

"They got rid of a guy that wouldn't pass the ball to anybody and just shot every time. That's why they're good now," Boeheim said referring to Akinjo after his team's loss to Hoyas.

Akinjo is one of four players that has announced they are leaving the Georgetown program in the past four weeks. As a starter for the Hoyas, Akinjo's loss was the most notable. The rest were all bench players, two seeing action on the back-end of the rotation. 

There is some credence to Boeheim's points. Akinjo averaged 4.4 assists in the seven games he played to start the season. The team as a whole had 14.6 assists on 26 made baskets per game - a 56% assist rate. The three games without him have seen that rate drastically tick up to 69% (20.7 assists on 30 made shots). Against SMU, Georgetown's 26 assists were the most they've had in a single game in nine years. 

Boeheim would also go on to say that despite the loss of four scholarship players, the remaining team is one of the best Georgetown teams he's seen in recent memory. He was unwavering in his support for Georgetown coach Patrick Ewing and was pleased with how he handled the whole situation. 

“Two guys weren’t really contributing at all and another guy was throwing the ball up all the time. I know Patrick can’t say that, but I can. I watched [James Akinjo] play three games. He lost three games, two games by himself," Boeheim said. "(Now) they have a pass-first point guard who can also score and (Mac) McClung gets to play away from the ball... they're a completely different team. If we played them, the way they were playing earlier in the year, we would’ve won the game.”

Terrell Allen, a grad transfer out of UCF, has filled the point guard void in Akinjo's absence. In their big win over SMU, he had 10 of the team's 26 assists and no turnovers. The DeMatha product added six more against Syracuse.

Akinjo has already jumped into the transfer market, visiting Arizona earlier this week. It appears there is no reason for him to waste his time taking a visit to central New York.

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Malcolm Perry breaks Army-Navy rushing record in Midshipmen victory

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Malcolm Perry breaks Army-Navy rushing record in Midshipmen victory

In a game between two teams who have for many years run the triple option, you have to be a pretty special player to run for the most yards ever in the Army-Navy Game. Navy quarterback Malcolm Perry did just that on Saturday as he led the Midshipmen to the 31-7 victory snapping a three-year losing streak to Army.

Perry finished the game with 304 rushing yards, the most ever for any player in the Army-Navy Game. He also rushed for two touchdowns.

"How did I bench him last year?" head coach Ken Niumatalolo said during a postgame interview on CBS.

Army took a 7-0 lead in the first quarter and Perry took over from there, leading the Midshipmen to 31 unanswered points.

Perry was not the story of the first half as Navy took a 14-7 lead late in the second quarter off of the Philly Special, but his dominant performance became hard to ignore as the game went on as Army proved unable to stop the speedy quarterback.

The victory ensures Navy's senior class did not go without a win against their archrival. It also earned the Midshipmen their first Commander-in-Chief's Trophy since 2015.

With the loss, Army's season is now over. Perry will have one game left in his Navy football career as the Midshipmen will play Kansas State on Dec. 31 in the Liberty Bowl.

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