When you think of the storied Duke basketball program, one man stands above them all as the single, most important figure in school history. Without head coach Mike Krzyzewski at the forefront of this program, the aura that surrounds the Duke Blue Devils would be nonexistent.
Of course, Coach K will also be the first to tell you that without an assortment of outstanding student-athletes, Duke basketball would severely be lacking its superiority.
Names such as Gene Banks, Johnny Dawkins, Danny Ferry, Christian Laettner, Bobby Hurley, Grant Hill, Shane Battier and J.J. Redick stand out most significantly in regards to what each one accomplished in their respective careers at Duke. In some form or another, each player became a program-changer. Exhibiting the qualities of being a winner, a leader and an ambassador of the school, this collection of talent, in their own way, became a perfect match with Coach K.
On December 20, 2012, one of the nation's most highly sought-after recruits in recent memory, Jabari Parker, announced his intentions of playing college basketball at Duke. That decision was made official on May 2 of this year when the 6'8" Chicago native signed his national letter of intent.
It was a decision that instantly became destined for greatness.
Duke. Highly regarded as one of the upper echelon programs in Division I college basketball.
Jabari Parker. Considered to be one of the best pure talents from the high school scene since LeBron James.
While Parker has yet to begin his first official season at Duke, he is already being tabbed with overwhelming expectations and pressure as a freshman.
Can he single-handedly replace the departing senior trio of Seth Curry, Ryan Kelly and Mason Plumlee? Can he lead Duke back to the Final Four? Will he provide the expected contributions to give Coach K and the Blue Devils their fifth national championship?
All questions that fuel the desire to succeed that much more.
To his credit are four consecutive Illinois state basketball championships while playing at Simeon Career Academy. Additionally, he is a recipient of a collection of Player of the Year honors throughout his illustrious high school career. He is the centerpiece of Duke's three-man 2013 recruiting class and will be the primary leader for the Blue Devils next season.
Like those names before him, he too possesses all of the tools to make his own mark for this program. With program-changing ability, it's all a part of the mystique that Parker has carried with him throughout his playing career.
Jabari Parker needed Mike Krzyzewski; a coach and a leader, arguably considered as the greatest of all time, that brings out the very best in his players through unmatched guidance.
In turn, Mike Krzyzewski needed Jabari Parker. A player that exemplifies success on the basketball court through relentless work ethic and a determined mind.
Next season, they will come together as an incomparable coach-player tandem. An ideal match for one another.
Two men, together, that share the same common values towards one goal. That goal being championship glory in 2014.