As a guest on ESPN Radio in Chicago a day after choosing Duke over Michigan State, the No. 2-ranked player in the country said it was a tough choice, but he selected Duke because of coach Mike Krzyzewski. Over the years, although the Duke program has been extremely successful, the perception in the black community is not positive.
Parker, a 6-foot-8 diverse player who is black and Mormon, said he received countless Tweets about his decision, most of them ugly, some too ugly too print. Here are a few:
• “Ur a loser. Have fun not having a pro career after duke #dukesucks #UNC”
• “committing to duke???youra joke. UNC is wheres it’s at…..Hope you never get to the league”
• “Ungodly amounts of respect lost for @JabariParker22 tonight… Duke? Seriously?”
“Fans are just now giving me a hard time,” Parker said on the radio show. “They sometimes just forget I’m a kid. . . Real hateful stuff. It’s no problem, though. I know it comes with the territory, and it’s just going to make me stronger.”
Parker had 34,175 Twitter followers. he Tweeted: “Trying to grow up fast. Act with a lot of class. I want to be respectful ALL the time. Sometimes people forget I’m 17#strivingforcharacter”
Parker it was “difficult” to pass on coach Tom Izzo, who recruited him since h was 14.
Parker was Illinois’ Mr. Basketball as a junior and the national Gatorade player of the year. He averaged 19.5 points, 8.9 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 3.3 blocks and 1.4 steals a game.
He announced his commitment to the Blue Devils at Simeon Thursday live on ESPNU. He chose Duke over BYU, Florida, Michigan State and Stanford.