2012 was certainly a year to forget for Duke basketball, and matters have only gotten worse since the season ended. Leading scorer Austin Rivers left for the NBA, concerns about Andre Dawkins have his future in doubt and now Tony Parker has become the second top-recruit to choose UCLA over Duke.
Parker, a 6'9" center from Miller Grove (Lithonia, GA), joins Shabazz Muhammad (Bishop Gorman/Las Vegas, NV) as the second Duke recruit to spurn the Blue Devils for the Bruins, doing so in a half-hour press conference Monday night.
Missing out on Muhammad hurt for obvious reasons, but missing out on Parker as well means that Duke will have just one incoming freshman next season. Parker also would have added depth and quality to a front court that is currently made up of brothers Mason and Marshall Plumlee.
This also gives credence to something that Parker mentioned in an ESPNHS piece in which he discussed the pros and cons of every school he was considering. In this article, Parker expressed concern with the way Duke's big men develop, specifically mentioning Mason Plumlee:
"Just the development of their big men is something that concerns me...Mason was a monster in high school," Parker said. "Don't get me wrong, he's really good now, but I thought he would be much further along."
In addition to these comments, Parker says that this concern is something "everyone thinks." This statement is particularly harrowing because it is clear that he is not alone in that thought and that it will only get harder for Duke to land quality big men in the future.
With Parker now off the board, it becomes even more important for Duke to sign Amile Jefferson. Jefferson is expected to make a decision next week after delaying it again last Friday.