Mike Krzyzewski and the Duke Blue Devils came out of nowhere to land Jabari Parker, the nation's No. 2 recruit, and they're certainly ecstatic to have done so. They'll be even happier when they see how perfectly Parker fits in the Duke system.
Hailing from Chicago, Parker joins a growing list of Windy City prodigies that Coach K was able to land from his native town, which includes Jon Scheyer, Sean Dockery and Corey Maggette. But perhaps the most shocking development is that Parker could very well be better than all of them.
The 6'8", 220-pound small forward from Simeon Career Academy has been compared to Carmelo Anthony in terms of one-on-one skills. He's able to beat defenders with his quick first step and can absorb contact to score while getting fouled.
His ability to attack the rim is unlike any player his age, but the way his skill set best fits into the Duke system is his swift jump shot. While he'll likely rely on his backcourt to drain three-pointers, Parker excels at pulling up from the high post and hitting mid-range jumpers.
Duke's lineup will look freakishly different next year, but they'll be retaining the "Plumlee factor" as 7-footer Marshall Plumlee looks to gain control of the Blue Devils' post. He's been nursing an injury through much of the 2012-13 season, but he's rather expendable with older brother Mason in the fold. That will change next season.
Perhaps the biggest advantage Parker will enjoy next season is the likely return of Quinn Cook and Rasheed Sulaimon, who make up a large portion of the Blue Devils' backcourt this season. Both guards can drain the deep ball and find their playmakers in space, which Parker will love.
Parker joins two solid newcomers in the Class of 2013. Shooting guard Matt Jones is ranked No. 36 in the nation, and small forward Semi Ojeleye is No. 41 in the nation, according to ESPN. He'll be surrounded by a great deal of talent in his incoming class but also towers above them enough skill-wise to assert his dominance as the top force.
They may lose stars like Seth Curry and Mason Plumlee, but there will be no shortage of depth and firepower on Duke's squad in the near future.
As much as on-court dynamics matter, it's also important to remember the integrity of Duke's program. Parker is as level-headed as we've seen from a high schooler in recent years, and that resonates with Coach K. He's made it clear that he wants to earn a degree, and that he's not opposed to staying for more than one year.
For someone of Parker's talent to indicate he could be anything other than a one-and-done is commendable, to say the least.
Parker is a player of character that will lead his team the right way, which is something Coach K undoubtedly saw in him upon his recruitment of the star forward.
It's safe to say that despite Duke's current No. 1 ranking and undefeated record, there are still brighter days ahead for the Blue Devils, and they should be on top of college basketball for the next few years.
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