College Sports

An NCAA Tournament first? Zion Cam to debut in Columbia

Zion Mania comes to NCAA Tournament: Here’s what it looks like

Duke's Zion Williamson returns to South Carolina to play in the NCAA Tournament.
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Duke's Zion Williamson returns to South Carolina to play in the NCAA Tournament.

Marc Wolff has worked with CBS to produce the NCAA Tournament for 35 years.

This year, he’s seeing something for the first time in his career.

“Because of Zion (Williamson), we have added a camera dedicated to him the whole time he is on the floor,” said Wolff, who has risen to be the network’s coordinating producer of college basketball. “We hired a cameraman, a camera, a digital tape machine to record everything he does.”

That’s never happened before in Wolff’s time with the network, he said, which probably means it has never happened before. Williamson is having that kind of impact on college basketball this season.

The 18-year-old Spartanburg native is a freshman forward for No. 1 seed Duke, which will play No. 16 seed North Dakota State on Friday at 7:10 p.m. in Colonial Life Arena. Williamson and the Blue Devils took the floor Thursday for a 40-minute open practice, and CBS’ new camera was rolling.

“We were recording his workout here today in the event something were to happen,” Wolff said. “We are monitoring Zion 24-7.”

Watch as Duke takes the floor to practice in Columbia, S.C. Thursday, March 21, 2019. The Blue Devils will face North Dakota State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Williamson 22.1 points and 8.9 rebounds per game this year. He was the unanimous ACC player of the year and already has been named national player of the year by Sporting News.

The first regular season matchup between Duke and North Carolina was the most watched weeknight game in ESPN’s history with 4.34 million viewers. No word on how many of them tuned out after Williamson’s shoe exploded, sidelining him in the first minute of the game.

“I thought Bill Walton was a dominant player,” Wolff said, “but this guy…”

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