SportsPulse: Selection Week is just a few days. USA Today by Scott Gleeson tells you teams that still have the job to do this weekend championship.
CHARLOTTE – They stand in elbow-to-elbow with steps surrounding the tunnel of players at the Spectrum Center, some of them surprising for a viewing angle, the other is holding cell phones high on their heads.
Not often a conference tournament makes a "remember where you are" moments, especially before the game starts. But there's a lot of energy Thursday night here at the ACC tournament, one also followed Zion Williamson from her first appearing onto the floor at the first glistening, over-rim dunk that revealed her health return to her last tally of 29 points and 14 rebounds in 84-72 wins in the Duke in Syracuse. "Bro, you did not miss it," Duke guard RJ Barrett told a laughing Williamson as he picked up a box score on the news postgame conference, causing Williamson to cover his face in the copy before him .
In fact, he did not make
After six games lost in the three week stretch that triggered of a national debate if Williamson should play again This season, the most exciting basketball player in the college of the decade did not just go back on Thursday from a knee injury the way most people returned from a knee injury.
Like everything that Williamson has since his college career, is a supersized, non-world, 13-for-13 comeback designed to drop the jaws and give dry NBA executives in May 14 draft lottery that promises to change the direction of a franchise and leave some others cursing their fate.
is never any pressure to hurry back to you when I'm ready, "Williamson said, adding that he was not considering shutting himself down for the time." I was ready for a few days past and it's good to get back. "
Williamson's performance after a 22-day layoff will not only remind everyone why the Duke grew to No. 1 in February and looked like the national championship favorite when it was completely
SPORTS DELIVERED: Get all the latest news sent right in your inbox ]
BUBBLE WATCH: Winners and losers of NCAA tournament fringe
Thank you! Already signed up for
an e mail to confirm your newsletter registration.
Due to Williamson, it is not just the unique body, the force in which he can finish around the rim or his occasional flash of skill in the perimeter. Williamson, somewhat simple, wants to play – a simple yet essential element of the entire package that he brings to a basketball team, and one that gets lost on most Twitter shouting to him to shut it down after his left Nike was exploded in February. 20.
"I wanted to get out of every game," Williamson says. "I see my brothers fighting and want to quarrel with them.
" Everyone has the right to their own opinion, but I know that I will come back all the time. "
Of course, if he is coming back, it will have different pair of shoes than Nike PG 2.5 separated from the seams, which is an interesting subplot on its own.
Earlier Thursday, the Duke posted a photo of Williamson These are not your usual, off-the-rack sneakers.
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski told the day after the game of North Carolina , Nike sent "their top people" to find out what had happened and then went to China to personally manage manufacturing a stronger, more robust version. He also said that they also assured Williamson of his shoes often, while they suspect the wear and tears of using the same pair of shoes in the couple the games have contributed to them coming under the weight of £ 285 Williamson
"They go back inside a week with others & # 39 different alternatives to make sure it's done right, "Krzyzewski said.
"We have a close relationship, we think it's the best shoe or we are with them."
Williamson said: "Shoes are incredible in this game."  Autoplay
More powerful shoes, Williamson sprinted and rebounded and dove on the floor with abandon. He poked the ball, he bullied his way to rebounds, he called for lob dunks and offered his teammates a smile after every positive play.
Of course, this is the case with this whole thing and what separates him as a potential generational talent. To be No. 1 pick on the NBA draft, Williamson does not have to go back. But when he did, he played as if his future earnings were on it.
"I've been in this game for 50 years and have seen many great players," said Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim. "I'm not saying he's better than the guys, but he's a different player. He can do things that have nothing to do with this game. There are no people like him."
About the only thing Williamson did not shoot free throws (2-for-9). But when you show five dunks, bringing five steals and entering into two double-double rebounds in the first half, the show is even more.
Even if you just need to see his first viral moment to understand that Williamson is really back – a stroke at halfcourt, a launch from a step inside the free throw line and a rim attack two minutes just – continues and offers some more. That's it.
And while Thursday is huge for the Duke because it's a reminder that the middling team they often seem to have been the last three weeks is not related to their NCAA tournament prospects, Friday's semifinal matchup is significant in its  North Carolina beat the Duke twice without Williamson, including last Saturday at Chapel Hill. Should the Duke turn the tables in the neutral court with its healthy player, its argument for No. 1 seed will be solid rock.
"We're excited to be part of it because it's true today," Williamson said. "From now on win or go home."
Follow Dan Wolken on Twitter @DanWolken .