Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski for the first time this week lamented the way that referees officiate Zion Williamson.
His 6-foot-7, 285 pound freshman is a player that no one at this level has ever seen before, and with that athleticism comes some issues for the officiating crews. I’m sure we are going to see goaltending called when it is not a goaltend because of how high Williamson can block shots. At some point he might get called for a travel when an official doesn’t realize how much ground Williamson can cover. Krzyzewski, however, specifically mentioned officials calling Williamson for a charge.
“I would hope they learn how to officiate him,” Krzyzewski said on Evan Daniels’ The Sidelines podcast, “because when he makes a spin at full court like that, a kid can’t take a charge unless it’s a secondary defender because it’s a unique move. Only a gifted athlete could make it at that level. He has a number of ‘wow’ moments.”
The play that Krzyzewski is referring to here is the fifth foul that Williamson was charged with in the win over Texas Tech.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: It’s laughable that Krzyzewski is complaining about getting a bad whistle — particularly charges — when Duke gets all the calls, but I do think that Krzyzewski is right here.
On the one hand, the charge rule in college basketball is one of the worst rules in sports. Rewarding a defender for falling down is not something that happens in any other sport. I will never be on board with the idea that standing in front of the rim is playing defense. We should be rewarding athleticism, not players that are going to try to flop.
That is particularly true with Williamson, who is so big and so powerful that it is easy for officials to anticipate a charge call.
I’m sure that people are not in the mood to hear this, but Coach K is right.