Now that 5-star stud Jabari Parker has officially announced that he will be playing basketball at Duke University next season, it is time to start looking ahead to what the small forward brings to the table for the Blue Devils.
BREAKING: Elite recruit Jabari Parker—the No. 2 player in '13—commits to Duke— Duke Basketball (@dukebasketball) December 20, 2012
First, this is a huge win for Mike Krzyzewski. One of the biggest knocks against Duke in recent years, even as the team sits atop the AP Top 25 Rankings right now, is that it lacks impact players with size.
Mason Plumlee has been great this season, but he is not the most physical player down low. He is long and lanky, though he can be overpowered by other centers and power forwards. The team has been built around guards and perimeter play for years.
Even though he is a small forward, Parker is 6'8" and 215 pounds. He is not going to be a banger at the college level, but he will add muscle and bulk in his college career to become a more dynamic big man who can play inside or stay on the outside.
Plus, because of his size and incredible athleticism on the floor, Parker is not a traditional small forward. He has the versatility to play multiple positions. He is such a good ball-handler that he can handle the point, and if he adds more size, he could move inside to the power forward spot.
Parker has a great feel for the floor, with excellent court vision and a tremendous shot. His biggest asset is his willingness to create opportunities for his teammates. He has the ability to take over a game at any moment, but he is also smart enough to know when to defer to others around him.
As a defender, Parker is more comfortable in man-to-man situations. He isn't strong enough to bang down low with bigger players right now. He also needs to learn how to handle the pick-and-roll at the next level.
Overall, though, Parker is a stud prospect with a tremendous ceiling, particularly on offense. He has the size and instincts to be the kind of player who averages 20 points and eight rebounds per game.
Adding strength and improving his overall defensive skills will determine if he reaches his ceiling, but Duke is getting one of the best players in the 2013 recruiting class.
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