A little advice: No matter what Duke superstar Jabari Parker eventually decides, vis-a-vis throwing his name into the NBA draft hat or returning to Durham for his sophomore season, it's probably best not to check for reactions on social media.
Because it's not going to be pretty.
As one of the most talented players in the country, Parker is a highly sought-after commodity. Fans who just watched their favorite NBA teams tank for 82 games to ensure a high draft pick want him. Fans in Durham who have daydreams of national championships definitely want him.
Hell, even Rob Lowe is getting caught up in the whole should-he-shouldn't-he brouhaha:
Hey Jabari Parker! Stay in school! #Duke— Rob Lowe (@RobLowe) April 15, 2014
And no matter what Parker does, it's literally going to be the wrong decision—and there's going to be a lot of unjustifiably angry people who clearly knew what was best for Parker better than he did.
That's just my warning, because as ESPN's college basketball Twitter feed announced, Parker's decision is coming very soon:
As 247Sports' Adam Rowe pointed out, the official announcement may not come until Thursday, with Parker not wanting to overshadow the seniors during Wednesday's team banquet:
Don't be surprised if Jabari 'decides' tomorrow, but doesn't 'announce' until Thursday. http://t.co/Fg7fjSlbsc— Adam Rowe (@BlueDevilLair) April 15, 2014
In many cases like this, there are legitimate reasons to seemingly swing a player toward one decision or another, but with Parker, there are plenty of "pros" to each side.
Should he stay at Duke, he'll not only serve as the clear front-runner for national Player of the Year, but he'll be joined by arguably the best recruiting class in America (Jahlil Okafor, Tyus Jones, Justise Winslow, Grayson Allen), establishing the Blue Devils as favorites to cut down the nets in Indianapolis.
In terms of the NBA, it's also beneficial, as an extra collegiate season will give him the opportunity to improve his defense and continue to refine his game before immediately being thrown into the professional-basketball fire.
Parker talked about the difficulty in potentially leaving Durham on ESPNLA 710, via ESPN.com:
It's a very tough decision, especially potentially leaving behind my coach and the program that really helped me out this year, so I really have to keep them in consideration in this whole process.
Of course, anyone who watched Parker knows he's ready for the NBA right now.
There is undoubtedly room for improvement, but with the ability to score from all three levels of the court, the 19-year-old, who has drawn comparisons to Carmelo Anthony and Paul Pierce, will be able to make an instant impact.
As Basketball Insiders' Alex Kennedy noted, he already has a lot of admirers throughout the Association:
I've talked to 30 NBA players about the 2014 draft and Jabari Parker has A LOT of fans around the league. Many believe he'll be a star.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) March 27, 2014
The proposition of a top-three pick, a hefty contract and a strong opportunity to win Rookie of the Year is understandably not easy to pass up.
Ultimately, though, the decision is Parker's to make, and judging by one of his most recent tweets, he undoubtedly has a good head on his shoulders:
Decision making= Working at your own pace. Becoming your own boss. What's in your best interest. What makes you happy.— Jabari Parker (@JPiz1) April 11, 2014
So, whatever he decides, don't think about criticizing him.
Respect him for taking the time for what is likely the most difficult decision of his young life—all the while getting "advice" from every direction possible and sitting in the middle of the increasingly bright spotlight.