He’s 6’8, 235 lbs and on March 15, he’ll be nineteen years-old. For those of you who don’t speak basketball in that kind of language, here’s a little perspective: LeBron James is currently enjoying his athletic prime at the age of 29. He measures in at 6’8, 250 lbs. There may be differences in brute strength, but Jabari is on pace to surpass King James in the physical specimen department. And with a vengeance too.
Jabari is the leader of a Duke Blue Devils team that is 11-3 and a surefire tournament threat. Jabari is averaging 20.4 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 1.7 apg, and a block and a steal apiece. Oh, and he’s shooting 51% from the field and 43% from 3.
Never mind that he’s an elite scorer and both a commendable rebounder and defender. His percentages are comparable to those of NBA All-Stars. And in a day and age where one-and-done players filter through college into the NBA, Parker will be coming from Duke University, which for some GMs is as good as it gets. A year under Coach K is unparalleled tutelage for these young men, and when a stud like Parker is the beneficiary, the sky is the limit. Does Coach K have good things to say about Jabari as a person? You decide:
Dan [Patrick] asked if Jabari Parker left for the NBA after this season, would he be upset. Coach K had nothing but praise for Parker. “He’s really a Duke kid,” Coach K said. “A great student. … The kid’s for real in every aspect. He’ll be associated with Duke and our program forever, kind of like Kyrie [Irving] is.”
Lastly, and without sounding arrogant, I like that Parker is a Mormon. For one, he’d be the first black Mormon NBA player EVER. But his faith has also had a tremendous impact on a human level too. He’s a supremely confident young man who doesn’t drink, smoke or swear (don’t know about the last one), and when he was in high school he was a regular church-goer. He had a GPA as high as 3.8 and was recruited by Coach K, who ranks personality among the most important characteristics of ideal recruits.
From the build, to the talent, to the smarts, Jabari Parker is the real deal. If I have the Number One pick in the draft in 2014, it’s a no-brainer.