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Jabari Parker will enter NBA draft

jabari-parker-dukeJabari Parker has decided to give up his final three years of eligibility at Duke and enter the NBA draft. The 19-year-old consensus first-team All-American announced his decision on Thursday in a column he wrote for Sports Illustrated.

“On Tuesday I thanked Coach K for preparing me to become a professional,” Parker wrote. “I expressed my appreciation to him for helping me grow so much as a person and a basketball player. And he reminded me how successful a season it was for our team and me personally. I told him that he is always going to be my coach. But the time has come for me to join the best basketball league in the world.”

Parker averaged 19.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game in his freshman season with the Blue Devils. He had one of his worst games of the season in an upset loss to Mercer in the NCAA Tournament, but he is still expected to be a lottery pick. He said the difficult decision ultimately came down to how short an NBA career can be.

“My father, Sonny, played in the NBA. I know firsthand that the career span of a pro basketball player is finite,” Parker said. “The lucky ones play until their mid-30s. With that perspective, I shrink my professional career with each year that I remain in college. It’s ironic, but true.”

After Duke’s season came to a disappointing end, many speculated that Parker might return to play another season under Coach K. As Seth Davis put it during his interview with Larry Brown Sports earlier this month, there are worse things than being a sophomore in college.

With a 6-foot-8, 235-pound frame, Parker has a great NBA body. There’s no reason to believe he won’t thrive with a bit of fine-tuning.

Seth Davis dishes on Jabari Parker possibly returning to Duke, DeAndre Daniels’ NBA potential

Seth-DavisHas Jabari Parker played his last game at Duke? That is a question NBA teams would like to have answered sooner rather than later as we inch closer to the June 26 draft. Parker is still a potential lottery pick. He picked a terrible time to have one of his worst games of the season against Mercer, but the talent is undeniable.

The longer Parker waits to announce his decision, the more speculation we hear about the possibility of him playing another season under Mike Krzyzewski. College basketball analyst and expert Seth Davis discussed Parker’s future with Larry Brown Sports on Friday.

“I’ve been saying for a while that I think there’s a good chance he’ll come back,” Davis said. “When I say good chance I mean relative to his situation. 99% of the kids in his position wouldn’t even hesitate to turn pro. He’s a different kind of kid. So instead of being 99% gone I would put him more 85% gone.”

Davis, who is serving Subway’s new Flatizzas with Jared the Subway guy at the Final Four this weekend, said Parker is ready for the NBA but could simply decide that he would rather play another year of college ball.

“Physically, emotionally, psychologically he’s ready,” Davis said. “It’s just a question of what he wants out of life. There’s worse things in life than being a sophomore in college. We’ll have to wait and see.”

Davis also offered his thoughts on the Final Four. He’s staying with Florida as his championship pick but could envision any of the four remaining teams cutting down the nets. Speaking of NBA potential, Davis believes UConn’s DeAndre Daniels has the tools needed to be an NBA All-Star.

“I think we could look five or 10 years down the road and say DeAndre Daniels was the best player on that UConn team,” Davis said. “He literally has no idea how good he is. It can be maddening to coach him and watch him. If that kid ever figures out how good he really is he can be an NBA All-Star. I think he’s that good.”

If you happen to be in Dallas this weekend, stop by Subway on 1222 Commerce Street and say what’s up to Seth and Jared. Enjoy the end of the Madness.

Report: NBA executives believe Jabari Parker will remain at Duke

jabari-parker-dukeAside from a major injury, there is probably only one thing that could stop Duke freshman Jabari Parker from going in the top five of the 2014 NBA Draft. That would be if he chose to stay in school, which most people would tell you is a ridiculous thought. According to one report, Parker is actually leaning toward returning to Duke for his sophomore season.

Sam Smith of Bulls.com wrote on Monday that there is a “growing view among NBA executives” that Parker will not enter the draft after the season.

And the growing view among NBA executives seems to be Jabari Parker will not leave Duke this year. Chicagoan Jahlil Okafor, a Parker friend and big man, is going to Duke next season. Parker is a bright young man with a strong family and the feeling is he understands both the importance of education and feels he owes Duke and the chance to have a great Duke team, which more than likely is the next two seasons. Plus, Parker has seen what staying in school has done for other greats compared with the tough starts for even stars like Kobe Bryant.”

Typically with freshman stars like Parker, the risk of an injury is far too frightening to pass up a secure financial future. That said, Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski has a reputation for getting players to remain in school and reconsider their one-and-done decisions. And Parker did cite Coach K as the main reason why he chose Duke out of high school.

[WATCH: Jabari Parker puts on a show in first primetime game]

A lot can change between now and April. As Dan Feldman of Pro Basketball Talk mentioned, Parker could suffer a minor injury that could spook him enough to realize how fragile a career can be. I highly doubt any college players look at Kobe Bryant as an example of why they shouldn’t turn pro early. If Parker stays, good for him. If not, can you really blame him?

Jabari Parker throws down one-handed alley-oop (GIF)

Jabari Parker put on a show in his first primetime game against a major opponent.

The highly-touted freshman made four 3-pointers in the first half and had 21 points, 7 rebounds, 3 steals and a block in the first 30 minutes for Duke against Kansas on Tuesday. He also threw down a sweet one-handed alley-oop that shattered your TV, in the words of my cousin.

CBS Sports’ Will Brinson also shared a picture comparing Parker’s alley-oop to a dunk by former Duke star Grant Hill:

Jabari Parker Grant Hill

If Parker ends up with an NBA career similar to Hill’s, he’ll be doing quite well for himself. Right now, he’s looking like he’s going to live up to his billing as one of the top recruits in the country.

GIF via Cork Gaines

Jabari Parker cites Coach K as big reason for choosing Duke

jabari-parker-dukeJabari Parker ended months of intense speculation by announcing on Thursday that he would attend Duke University after high school.

Parker is a consensus top five recruit for the 2013 class. The 6-foot-8 forward from Chicago cited Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski as a big reason why he chose the Blue Devils.

“What brought me to the decision is the history. Duke is always going to be a team in the tournament. You can’t go wrong at the program. And most importantly, the long-term investment — I feel like if I go there, I can get a good degree,” Parker said during his Thursday announcement.

“Coach K, that’s one of the best coaches ever. I wanted to be able to experience the things that he has next year.

“[Coach K] has played a key role in my development throughout high school, just telling me basic things and what I need to do,” Parker said, per the News & Observer. “I just felt comfortable.”

When Parker first narrowed the list of schools he was considering for college, 10 made the cut. Those schools included: Kentucky, Stanford, Michigan State, Kansas, Florida, Duke, BYU, Georgetown, DePaul, and North Carolina. Parker then removed Georgetown and Kentucky from the list, and a few months later he dropped Kansas, DePaul, and North Carolina.

According to Sports Illustrated, before his visits to the remaining schools, Parker and his brother made the following list to help analyze his decision.

Coach: Duke
Academics: Duke/Stanford
Basketball: Michigan State
Environment: Duke
Spirituality: Undecided

Duke seemed like the clear favorite months ago, and it’s obvious Coach K was a big reason. It also helped when Coach K arranged to take Parker’s father, who has kidney problems, to a dialysis center on their visit to campus.

Parker has to be thrilled to have the recruiting process over now; even back in June it seemed like he was overwhelmed.

Image via ESPN/YouTube

Top recruit Jabari Parker’s parents screen all of his recruiting calls and texts

Last week, the NCAA passed a rule that could have made life for programs like UConn a lot easier over the years. Coaches are now allowed to call and text high school recruits as much as they please. That means any team who is interested in landing Jabari Parker, the No. 1-ranked high school recruit from the class of 2013, is welcome to call or text him at any time to give their sales pitch. That is, as long as they don’t mind speaking to his parents first.

According to ESPN Chicago.com, Jabari’s parents Sonny and Lola Parker have forbidden him from giving out his personal number to college coaches.

“Everybody doing their job, but they still can’t have Jabari’s number,” Sonny explained on Tuesday. “That ain’t changed. We want him to enjoy being who he is. If he wants to talk, we’ll ask him first. Right now, we don’t want him to be over-bombarded because coaches can sometimes be aggressive, and that can be overwhelming.”

Sonny said Jabari changed his number recently when the new rule was made, although he added that all of the coaches have been respectful of their wishes and have not tried to contact Jabari directly. From a coaching standpoint, this isn’t the end of the world. With coaches constantly telling recruits anything they want to hear to get them to commit to their program, many high schoolers lean heavily on their parents for advice anyway.

“I talked to (Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski) the other day,” Sonny said. “He wished me a Happy Father’s Day. My voicemail is filled. It’s been filled for a year.”

Considering some of the stuff his high school coach is known for doing, Parker must be used to strict rules. If what they say about his game is true, that phone is going to ring nonstop until he makes a decision about his future.

Photo credit: Mark L. Baer-US PRESSWIRE