Zion Williamson was emotional on Thursday night after the Pelicans selected him No. 1 in the 2019 NBA draft. The former Duke forward, with tears in his eyes, first thanked his mother for the sacrifices she made so he could get to this point.
'I mean, I don't know what to say. I didn't think I'd be in this position," Williamson said. "My mom sacrificed a lot for me. I wouldn't be here without my mom. She did everything for me. I just want to thank her. She put her dreams aside for mine."
The 6'7'', 285-pound freshman sensation stole headlines all last season. While the pick wasn't a surprise, he was still overcome with emotion as he spoke with ESPN's Maria Taylor. After thanking his mom, Williamson also expressed enthusiasm about calling New Orleans home.
Williamson has been the projected No. 1 pick for months. He averaged 22.6 points, 8.9 rebounds and 2.1 assists on 68% shooting over his lone season with the Blue Devils. Duke's star went on to become just the third freshman ever to win the Naismith Men's Player of the Year Award and picked up the AP Men's College Basketball Player of the Year and the John R. Wooden Award.
The Pelicans also had the No. 4 selection in the draft, which they acquired from the Lakers in the Anthony Davis trade, but they traded the pick to the Hawks on Thursday night in exchange for Atlanta's No. 8, 17 and 36 selections.