When Duke lost to Mercer in the first round of the NCAA tournament, it left a lot of questions surrounding the future of Jabari Parker.
On paper Parker had a successful freshman season. He averaged . Despite playing out of position at the four and sometimes the five throughout the year, he also rebounded well.
But the Mercer game highlighted everyone’s biggest concern with Parker. With the game on the line, Coach Mike Krzyzewski chose to take Parker out of the game, playing offense/defense with him. He is a gifted offensive scorer, but if he can’t be relied upon defensively at the college level, how will his game translate to the pros.
He’s not quick laterally, and has the body type of Carmelo Anthony. His technique is lazy, and he prefers to bend at the waist than at the knees when he gets down into a defensive stance without his arms out wide. He can’t stay in front of collegiate small forwards, and that will only get worse in the NBA.
Parker is no guarantee to enter the 2014 NBA Draft. All season long he says he hasn’t made up his mind about turning pro and feels that he “owes” something to Duke. An embarrassing first round loss may be the catalyst he needs to stay. It is the same decision Marcus Smart made when he stayed at Oklahoma State after his freshman year.
With an impressive recruiting class coming in, including an elite point guard and center, Parker may thrive in a more traditional team setting.
Do you think Jabari Parker’s future is a Duke or in the NBA? Let us know in the comments section below!