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Kentucky Wildcats Morning Quickies: Zion Williamson Reality Edition

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Some in college basketball are all excited about the possibility of Zion Williamson and Coach K having to answer questions about illegal benefits during a legal proceeding. Unfortunately, reality must intrude.

NCAA Basketball Tournament - East Regional - Washington DC Photo by Lance King/Getty Images

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen of the Big Blue Nation, and welcome to the Tuesday Morning Quickies.

Over the weekend, I came to be aware of a dispute between two NBA agencies representing athletes that has produced a lawsuit that threatens Duke basketball. Zion Williamson sued Prime Sports to void a contract he signed with them, and intends to have CAA Sports represent him.

This prompted a response by Prime Sports alleging many torts including breach of contract, fair dealings, fraud, tortious interference, and a host of others. To me, this seems a pretty typical dispute involving athletes and agencies, something we see from time to time. But because of Williamson’s high profile as the #1 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, it is certainly noteworthy all by itself.

Apparently the defendant in the case, Gina Ford of Prime Sports, has published a request for admission (basically a civil subpoena requiring answers to certain questions) to Zion Williamson that essentially asks him to admit that Duke cheated to obtain his services. Lawyers for Ford suggested recently that Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski was a likely target for depositions as well.

This all sounds very grave for Duke, but before you all jump up and down hoping that the Blue Devils finally get their comeuppance, let me talk to you like a Dutch uncle.

This thing will never, ever get to that stage. Prime Sports doesn’t want to tarnish Williamson or Duke, as doing either would gravely damage their prospects to obtain clients from that lucrative source as well as others sympathetic to Duke and college basketball in general. Their intent here is to force Williamson into a settlement, and that is all. They will make all kinds of scary, legally threatening noises that appear to place all sorts of respected folks in jeopardy of a tarnished reputation and NCAA sanctions against one of their most valuable “properties,” but it’s never going to come to that.

And no, the NCAA is not going to open an investigation of Duke based on questions an aggrieved party wants to ask Williamson or Krzyzewski. Obviously, that would be different if either worthy were to actually answer such questions in an incriminating way, but if you are hoping for that, you will be disappointed.

So for all the sturm und drang, driven as much as anything by a bunch of sportswriters bereft of anything of real substance to talk about (full disclosure — this includes your humble correspondent), this is a fairly typical legal proceeding of this nature, and it is much ado about ... only one thing — filthy lucre, and not any cash or benefits Duke may have paid Williamson.

So don’t expect to see Coach K coming to a witness chair near you, or Zion Williamson admitting to taking millions from Duke boosters, a house, a car, and a partridge in a pear tree. It’s never going to happen.

But by all means, in this time of isolation and the desert that has become sport, dare to dream.

Tweets of the Morning

Ouch! Harsh, but fair.

You gotta love Lynn Bowden. This young man is starting to remind me of a young Michael Jordan in his competitive nature. It certainly served MJ well enough...

Lots of great names on this list. When I was young, Kevin Gevey was a household name, and Keith Bogans is tied for my favorite Tubby Smith player (Erik Daniels is the other).

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  • Michigan State coach Tom Izzo thinks that college basketball will need to take a long look at how they do things with the recent G-League moves. Money quote:

All of this is going to make us (the more prominent programs) not recruit high school kids and just look at transfers if it grows.

“We can recruit a kid for as long as we want. He could probably even sign in November. But before he steps on campus, take the G-League money and go. We will have to take a long hard look at how we do things.”


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