Jabari Parker matched the pre-college hype and delivered a sometimes sensational freshman season at Duke. It was enough for him to determine he was prepared to take his game to the NBA.
In an essay written for Sports Illustrated, Parker announced he would bypass the remainder of his college eligibility and enter the NBA draft.
“I realize how much of a privilege and an honor it is to join the ranks of the NBA,” Parker wrote. “I will do everything in my power to help deliver championships to the franchise that drafts me. At the same time, I recognize the obligation to represent the league in an admirable way off the court.”
Parker was a dazzling Blue Devil. The 6-foot-8 Parker was a consensus first-team All-America selection, averaging 19.1 points and 8.7 rebounds in leading Duke to a 26-7 record. He set the mark for freshman points (670), 20-point games (18), among others.
“Jabari could not have been better,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said in a statement. “He is the epitome of what you would want a basketball player to be — outstanding every day on the practice court and in the classroom and a very humble young man. He had a fantastic freshman year and is so deserving of the opportunity to play in the NBA and follow his dream.”
Parker joins Corey Maggette, Luol Deng, Kyrie Irving and Austin Rivers as Blue Devils freshmen to enter the draft after just one year of college basketball. Irving was the No. 1 overall pick in 2011.
Lost in the Parker announcement was that Duke sophomore Rodney Hood also will enter the NBA draft, Yahoo! Sports reported, citing sources. The forward is in the process of selecting an agent and plans to make an announcement within the next several days, sources told the website.
Parker also wrote that his one year at Duke “has been a cherished chapter in my life. I’m very fortunate to have worn the blue and white. And I will always carry with me the memories of playing in front of the Crazies at Cameron. Now it’s time to write the next chapter.”
Parker is projected as the No. 2 overall pick, behind one-and-done Kansas guard Andrew Wiggins, according to an ESPN mock draft.