To say he’s arriving at Duke with a great deal of pressure would be an understatement.
Although expectations may be unfair and Parker himself has said he’s “overrated,” it doesn’t change the fact that expectations will be incredibly high for him this season. It’s an effect of being one of the most talked about freshmen in college basketball.
Here are the five things Jabari Parker must do to meet expectations in 2013-14.
At 6’8”, 235 pounds, Jabari Parker has the size and skills to help alleviate some of the concerns Duke fans have about the post game this year.
Amile Jefferson, Marshall Plumlee and Josh Hairston will likely rotate for the Blue Devils at the five position, but it would take a great deal of pressure off them if Parker can establish himself on the blocks against weaker opponents.
Parker possesses a wide variety of offensive skills that can make him effective from anywhere on the court, but Duke would benefit most from him being a primary option in the paint.
He also needs to emerge as one of the team’s best rebounders.
If NBADraft.net already has Jabari Parker listed as one of the top-two picks in the 2014 NBA Draft, he should at least be one of the five best freshmen in the country.
Parker was regarded by most recruiting services to be the second-best recruit in the country last season behind Andrew Wiggins, and he’s viewed as a player who will be ready to become a star for the Blue Devils.
His understanding of the game is well beyond his years and his size makes him extremely difficult to stop. He should also benefit from not having to carry the team because of Duke’s great depth and versatility.
By playing at Duke, Parker will have plenty of opportunities to showcase his talent and the pressure will be on to prove himself as one of the best freshmen in America.
Remember when Harrison Barnes began his college career at North Carolina in 2010? He was a Preseason All-American and was expected to immediately dominate for the Tar Heels.
It wasn’t that easy.
Barnes struggled through the first half of the season as he adjusted to the college game and the stage of playing for North Carolina. People began to criticize him and question his ability.
He eventually became one of the most explosive scorers in the country but it wasn’t until after a period of adjustment.
Jabari Parker will deal with the same type of pressure.
It’s not fair, but Parker will be expected to play at the highest level from the opening tip of Duke’s first game and to maintain that level of play throughout the season.
The 2013-14 Duke Blue Devils will be one of the most talented teams Mike Krzyzewski has had at Duke in recent years.
The team has tremendous depth, particularly on the perimeter, where the Blue Devils are loaded with talent.
In a unique twist, the two players being labeled as the two best on the team are two guys that didn’t play for Duke last season.
Rodney Hood sat out the season after transferring from Mississippi State and Jabari Parker was busy leading his high school team to its fourth straight Illinois state championship.
Many Blue Devil fans are hoping and expecting Parker and Hood to immediately step in and be the stars of the team for the 2013-14 season.
There are a number of talented freshmen entering the ACC this season, but Jabari Parker is considered to be at a different level than the rest of his class in the conference.
He will face tough competition from N.C. State’s Anthony Barber, Pittsburgh’s Mike Young, Syracuse’s Tyler Ennis and North Carolina’s Isaiah Hicks, but the award will be Parker’s to lose.
Parker simply has the most complete game of any freshman in the ACC.
He will enter the season as the heavy favorite to win the ACC Freshman of the Year award, and Mike Krzyzewski will devise plenty of ways to highlight the unique talent of this gifted player.
Are expectations too high for Jabari Parker? Can he meet these expectations? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.