(Update: Jabari Parker decision to be made tomorrow Wednesday April 16th)
Is Jabari Parker returning to Durham for his sophomore season? News stories from multiple outlets linked below believe that the wind is indeed blowing that way.
A report in January first indicated that the Duke Blue Devils forward from Chicago, Illinois was leaning toward playing at least one more season for Coach K., where he’ll be joined by the best incoming freshmen class in all of college basketball: #1 rated Jahlil Okafor, #3 Tyus Jones #19 Grayson Allen and #11 Justise Winslow.
A lot of people thought it was a foregone conclusion that Jabari Parker would leave early for the NBA. The truth is far from that.
Multiple reports confirm that he is leaning towards staying.
Duke’s early exit from the NCAA Tournament seemingly strengthens Parker’s motivation to return for another season and a second chance at a national championship. With Jabari Parker returning, Duke would have to be considered your #1 college basketball team heading into next year’s preseason. They do lose forward Rodney Hood to the NBA Draft though as news of his early departure became public yesterday.
However, look at their nucleus. There’s an insane number of former McDonald’s All-Americans and other blue chip prospects on the ’14-’15 roster: Semi Ojeleye, Rasheed Sulaimon, Matt Jones, Quinn Cook, Marshall Plumlee, Amile Jefferson etc. etc. etc.
And Duke Assistant Steve Wojciechowski left to become Head Coach at Marquette.
I even reached out to Duke icon Christian Laettner for an answer about Jabari Parker, and this is what he said during our exclusive conversation.
Even without Parker, Duke will be considered a top 5 team next year. So with him, they’ll have the preseason hype that Kentucky had this year. Jabari Parker is widely considered to be the most NBA-ready prospect, and he’s a consensus top five pick if he declares. Depending on how meetings with pro teams and combine workouts would go, he could be the first overall pick. Or at least top three.
Andrew Wiggins has declared. Joel Embiid has not decided, but Yahoo has reported that he’s entering the draft. And the next domino to fall is Myles Turner. If Embiid returns to Kansas, you can be sure that Turner, the #2 rated recruit in the ’14 class will not be a Jayhawk. He’ll probably likely stay home in Texas instead.
Getting back to Parker, the NBA Draft early entry deadline is April 27th; and we’ll get a definitive answer long before then.
“He plays like he’s 23, not 18,” an NBA GM told the New York Daily News. “He can post and score inside, he has great hands and rebounds. He’s just not a big-time athlete. But he’s got ‘top pick’ written all over him.”
However, that will likely have to wait until 2015; at least.
I asked Jahlil Okafor, a fellow Chicagoan, about these rumors tonight at the McDonald’s All-American game:
“I heard he might stay, I heard he might leave I heard pretty much all of it,” he said.
Ok, talking to 2014’s #1 prospect did not give us any more insight into the plans of 2103’s #1 overall prospect but take a look at some of the tweets today from around the basketball literati:
— Joey Pergola (@joeypergola17) April 2, 2014
Duke forward Jabari Parker may be staying in school after all http://t.co/avLnIVMqZN
— SLC Dunk (@slcdunk) April 2, 2014
Paul M. Banks owns The Sports Bank.net, an affiliate of Fox Sports. He’s also a frequent guest on national talk radio. Banks is a former contributor to NBC Chicago and the Washington Times, who’s been featured on the History Channel. President Obama follows him on Twitter (@paulmbanks)Powered by Sidelines Follow paulmbanks