Back in December, Duke got an early Christmas present when Jabari Parker committed to the Blue Devils. The 6’8”, 220-pound forward was ranked at the top of the 2013 class until Andrew Wiggins inserted himself into the mix.
The Chicago native averaged 18.4 points, 10.4 rebounds and 2.7 assists for Simeon High School. His production was instrumental in guiding Simeon to a fourth consecutive state championship. Parker’s play also earned him Mr. Basketball honors for the state of Illinois (via ESPN).
Because he also won that honor as a junior, Parker is the first player to win that award twice. In his junior season, Parker was also named the Gatorade National Player of the Year.
Parker dominated the paint with strong post moves and impressive play around the rim. He marries his size with a nearly immeasurable amount of athleticism. He handles the ball well and can take players off the dribble. Parker even has a fairly good mid-range jumper.
There’s room for improvement with Parker’s mid-range game and he, like most high school players, needs to increase his physical strength. Even still, all of Parker’s skills add up to a big-time scorer.
Duke will need that scoring next season. With Seth Curry, Mason Plumlee and Ryan Kelly graduating, the Blue Devils lose almost all of last year’s scoring. Parker’s ability to score inside, off the dribble or from the wing will be a central feature of Duke’s offense. Single-handedly, Parker offers scoring versatility.
So Parker is not only a certain starter for the Blue Devils, he’ll be a key player alongside returning players Rasheed Sulaimon, Quinn Cook and junior transfer Rodney Hood. There might be a bit of a learning curve as Parker adjusts to the college game, but his skills are enough to ensure that he learns the ropes quickly.