Jabari Parker is the No. 2 consensus recruit in the country, and has just announced he'll be taking his talents to Duke University.
Parker will be a program-changer in college, and a likely franchise player in the pros. He'll be unlike any pro prospect Duke has had in recent memory.
A no-brainer one and done prospect, Parker's appeal stems directly from his scoring tools, instincts and versatility. With talent, size and brains, he presents an extremely attractive package to an NBA franchise.
If you're looking for a comparison, let's go with his "ceiling" comparison— the player he'd most likely resemble if he reaches his potential: Knicks' star forward Carmelo Anthony.
Parker is a 6'8'' forward who's most likely to operate from the wing. Like Carmelo, he's got a quick first step for his size, which most slow-footed defenders can't keep up with.
Once he can beat his man off the dribble, that's where Parker's strength comes into play. Contact tends to bounce off Parker instead of the other way around.
Being able to absorb contact is what has made Carmelo Anthony such a complete offensive weapon. Rarely does he attack the rim without either finishing or getting to the line.
What immediately stands out about Parker is his ability to score in the half-court. Right now, you'd probably call Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant the most complete half-court scorers in the NBA. Parker's ability to generate points when the game is slowed down is what gives him the ceiling of a star and top-two pick overall upside.
Parker uses jab-steps, dribble-pull-backs and spin-moves to create shots and separation on the perimeter. He's an advanced one-on-one player, who doesn't have to be stationary before setting his feet and releasing the ball.
He can go from full speed to stopping on the dime before rising and firing with balance.
Like Melo, he also has a nifty high-post scoring game. He's slippery with his back to the rim, or he can face-up and beat his man off the bounce.
As a playmaker, Parker is known for being an effective and visionary passer. You wouldn't know it from the stats, but Melo is actually one of the better passers from the wing. This contributes to a few easy baskets a game for teammates, particularly when defenders are focused on the ball and not their man.
Speaking of easy baskets, Parker's ability to create separation at the rim or on the perimeter makes it difficult to contest his shot.
When you see Carmelo operating in the half-court, defenders appear to be helpless at times. There's nothing you can do to stop him from pulling up, stepping back or turning over the shoulder, except cross your fingers and hope he misses.
Parker presents a similar threat as a scorer.
It will be interesting to see Jabari Parker at the college level. Scorers like Parker aren't always able to showcase their full set of skills playing in a methodical system that allows for minimal individual freedom.
But he possesses the same confidence and scoring instincts that have helped Melo be the offensive player he is.
Parker will be competing with Andrew Wiggins (undecided) for the title of top prospect in the 2014 NBA draft class, which should make for a compelling storyline as we approach their national introductions.
Here's a quick highlight reel that does a good job showing off his Melo-like scoring qualities:
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