Dick Vitale's advice to Zion Williamson: Don't quit on your team

Duke Blue Devils freshman phenom Zion Williamson is all but guaranteed to be the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft whenever he declares.

Many are calling for the young star to leave college after this year and enter the pros, especially after a freak shoe mishap put Williamson at risk for serious injury – but he luckily walked away with just a mild knee sprain, and was able to return to the court just ahead of the NCAA tournament.

NBA players slammed the NCAA after Williamson's injury and demanded change at the college level. Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz called for players to start getting paid. Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks advised Williamson to sit out the rest of the season, and the Denver Nuggets' Isaiah Thomas echoed that sentiment while also suggesting Williamson turn pro as soon as possible. 

Legendary sportscaster Dick Vitale, however, doesn't think Williamson's work is done at Duke. 

"He loves being a college student," Vitale told AOL.com on behalf of Bounty. "Why shouldn't he play at college?"

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Zion Williamson's freshman year at Duke
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Zion Williamson's freshman year at Duke
Duke's Zion Williamson (1) and Army's Matt Wilson (14) reach for the ball during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Durham, N.C., Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Duke's Zion Williamson reacts following a play against Army during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Durham, N.C., Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018. Duke won 94-72. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Duke's Zion Williamson (1) drives for a dunk against Eastern Michigan during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Durham, N.C., Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Duke's Zion Williamson (1) reacts following a play against Eastern Michigan during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Durham, N.C., Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Duke's Zion Williamson (1) reacts following a play against Eastern Michigan during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Durham, N.C., Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Gonzaga forward Rui Hachimura (21) tries to stop Duke forward Zion Williamson (1) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Maui Invitational, Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2018, in Lahaina, Hawaii. Gonzaga defeated Duke 89-87. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)
Duke's Zion Williamson reacts following a basket against Indiana during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Durham, N.C., Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Duke's Jack White (41) embraces Zion Williamson, middle, as Williamson looks at teammate RJ Barrett (5) late in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Hartford, in Durham, N.C., Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018. (AP Photo/Ben McKeown)
Duke's Zion Williamson (1) speaks with teammates on the bench late in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Hartford in Durham, N.C. Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018. (AP Photo/Ben McKeown)
Duke's Zion Williamson (1) listens to coach Mike Krzyzewski during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Yale in Durham, N.C., Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
File- This Dec. 20, 2018, file photo shows Duke forward Zion Williamson (1) dunking the ball against Texas Tech during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in New York. Williamson is one of the names you may not know now but very well could by the end of 2019. They figure to come up big in the new year.(AP Photo/Adam Hunger, File)
Duke's Zion Williamson, front, saves a loose ball as Wake Forest's Isaiah Mucius, back, defends during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Winston-Salem, N.C., Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Duke's Zion Williamson (1) drives between Wake Forest's Ikenna Smart (35) and Jaylen Hoard during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Winston-Salem, N.C., Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Duke's Zion Williamson (1) is seen during a break in action against Syracuse during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Durham, N.C., Monday, Jan. 14, 2019. Syracuse won 95-91. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Duke's Zion Williamson (1) shoots a foul shot against Pittsburgh during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Duke's Zion Williamson (1) keeps his eyes fixed as he goes for a loose ball during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Boston College in Durham, N.C., Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Chris Seward)
Duke forward Zion Williamson (1) talks with forward Javin DeLaurier (12) during the second half of the team's NCAA college basketball game against Louisville in Louisville, Ky., Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019. Duke won 71-69. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
Duke's Zion Williamson (1) drives to the net against North Carolina State during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Durham, N.C., Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Chris Seward)
Duke's Zion Williamson (1) flashes a grin after his team made a play against North Carolina State during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Durham, N.C., Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Chris Seward)
Duke's Zion Williamson sits on the floor following an injury during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against North Carolina in Durham, N.C., Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Duke's Zion Williamson (1) is attended to on the bench following an injury during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against North Carolina in Durham, N.C., Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Duke's Zion Williamson, center, cheers after a basket from the bench during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Syracuse in Syracuse, N.Y., Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019. Duke won 75-65. (AP Photo/Nick Lisi)
Duke's Zion Williamson applauds during player introductions prior to an NCAA college basketball game against Miami in Durham, N.C., Saturday, March 2, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Duke's Zion Williamson (1) reacts after a dunk against Syracuse during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament in Charlotte, N.C., Thursday, March 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Duke's Zion Williamson (1) smiles after a play against Syracuse during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament in Charlotte, N.C., Thursday, March 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Duke's Zion Williamson (1) and RJ Barrett (5) embrace as they leave the court after Duke defeated North Carolina in an NCAA college basketball game in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament in Charlotte, N.C., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Duke's RJ Barrett, left, hugs Zion Williamson after Duke defeated Florida State in the NCAA college basketball championship game of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament in Charlotte, N.C., Saturday, March 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Duke's Zion Williamson (1) celebrates after Duke defeated Florida State in the NCAA college basketball championship game of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament in Charlotte, N.C., Saturday, March 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)
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Vitale said that professional players calling for the 18-year-old Williamson to enter the NBA draft this year is "ridiculous and absurd" and would simply teach him how to quit on his team. 

"The doctors and medical staff have cleared him, and he wants to play," Vitale continued, praising Williamson's attitude in the wake of his injury. "I see nothing wrong with that."

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski called the 24 hours after Williamson's injury "one of the toughest 24 hours" he had experienced as the school's coach. He has reiterated that Williamson "loves being at Duke" and hasn't yet expressed a desire to leave. 

Vitale also listed Duke as one of his key teams to watch during this year's tournament, largely due to intrigue about Williamson's injury and how he'll be able to bounce back. Williamson and the Blue Devils enter 2019 March Madness as the No. 1 overall seed and will play either N.C. Central or North Dakota State on Friday. 

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