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Jabari Parker says he is unsure of going pro, will meet with Coach K

Apr 12, 2014, 1:39 AM EDT

Duke v Mercer Getty Images

Duke’s Jabari Parker is going to be a high pick in the NBA Draft. Often compared to Carmelo Anthony because of the variety of ways he can score (although that may be high praise for Parker’s potential) Parker is third on most team’s draft boards (behind an assumed healthy Joel Embiid and Andrew Wiggins).

But Parker says he is still debating coming back for his sophomore season at Duke, he told ESPN.

Parker and the other Wooden Award finalists were making the media rounds Friday and of course Parker was asked about his plans on ESPN’s Los Angeles radio station.

“It’s a very tough decision, especially leaving behind my coach and all the people who are behind the program that really helped me out this year,” said Parker. “I really have to keep them in consideration. The whole process, it’s very mind-boggling….

“It’s more than just next year,” he said. “It’s going to be my career from there and how happy I’ll be in life.”

In other interviews he went on to say about how he planned to speak to coach Mike Krzyzewski and that he plans to announce his decision the middle of next week.

I’d be surprised if he stayed.

I have no doubt he loves Duke, I have no doubt his game will be more mature in a year (although he has a long way to go on defense, as was highlighted in the NCAA Tournament). But the simple fact is he will develop faster in the NBA and he will get paid to do it — his offensive game is NBA ready right now.

If you are projected as a late first rounder that is one thing (second round picks don’t get guaranteed contracts), but if you are a lottery pick your decision to come out is very different. And Parker is a top five pick on every board in the land.

  1. 00maltliquor - Apr 12, 2014 at 2:17 AM

    Mr. Parker, money just called on line one…are you sure you want me to keep it on hold or do you want to pick it up? It sounds urgent…

    • cruzan80 - Apr 12, 2014 at 9:59 AM

      His family is doing “ok”. Remember, his father “Sonny” I believe played about 6 years in the NBA. This isn’t one of those situations where his entire neighborhood is waiting for the Parkers to strike it rich. His family’s financial situation is closer to the likes of Grant Hill’s & Joakim Noah’s rather than Lebron James or Carmelo Anthony’s who’s families needed them to go pro ASAP.

      It wouldn’t shock me at all if he didn’t declare for the draft this season….he’ll still be a top 5 pick in next year’s draft anyway.

      • bigmeechy74 - Apr 12, 2014 at 11:26 AM

        “he’ll still be a top 5 pick in next years draft anyway…” Unless he shreds his ACL. Also who cares if his dad played in the NBA years ago? He’s gonna pass up 50 million in cash in his own name? For what?

      • casualcommenter - Apr 12, 2014 at 11:42 AM

        That’s a good point, though I still think it’s smart to declare anyway even if money isn’t a pressing need because of the risk of a serious injury over the next year.

        A highly regarded NFL draft prospect named Brandon Thomas tore his ACL while working out a month before the draft. That injury will likely cost him either hundreds of thousands of dollars or millions of dollars depending on how far down in the draft he falls.

        He wasn’t doing anything irresponsible, and he wasn’t even playing in a game.
        However, if Parker’s family has money, he can do what Andrew Luck did before coming back to college for an extra year, and buy an insurance policy to help protect himself from that risk.

    • dukefan24 - Apr 13, 2014 at 11:38 AM

      It doesn’t matter about the money too some people. To me it sounds like he wants to get more experience from the best coach in the NCAA so he could become the top Draft pick. I would love to see him stay and finish he college career out because I think he could break some records.

  2. mackcarrington - Apr 12, 2014 at 3:39 AM

    I heard his interview. He may be physically ready but he doesn’t sound like he’s ready to leave the cocoon yet.

  3. lakerade - Apr 12, 2014 at 4:55 AM

    That’s unfortunate.

    • therealhtj - Apr 12, 2014 at 10:26 AM

      Especially for a team that won a few extra meaningless games and knocked themselves out of a top 5 pick in what would become a 5 man draft.

  4. sportsnut101 - Apr 12, 2014 at 8:01 AM

    How many duke stars are nba franchise stars
    Might as well stay enjoy college

  5. marbulz - Apr 12, 2014 at 12:10 PM

    What you should consider is what his father probably considered best to stay and get a degree even if it’s a two year degree

  6. kb2408 - Apr 12, 2014 at 1:53 PM

    I like the Melo comparison but I like the comparison to Paul Pierce a little better.

  7. tomtravis76 - Apr 12, 2014 at 11:36 PM

    He can still get his degree from Duke. He can still contribute to the Duke program. But there is no reason for him to stay in college to play basketball. I am going to assume he aspires to be a professional basketball player, well his opportunity is in front of him to take advantage of now. He could stay an amateur with Coach K, but he does risk a major injury and who knows how he will gel with the star studded crop of guys Coach K has coming in the fall. He is a top 3 pick,maybe number 1 now.

  8. ProBasketballPundit - Apr 13, 2014 at 5:18 AM

    I have a Phat Burrito riding on this decision. C’mon, Jabari, declare for the draft and I’ll split it with you. It’s a good deal, trust me.

  9. daveoc99 - Apr 13, 2014 at 6:00 AM

    “In the land” was an interesting word choice

  10. Dan Camponovo - Apr 13, 2014 at 11:16 AM

    I’m all for guys staying in college if it’s something they want to do and know all of the facts and can support their decision. Marcus Smart has said in interviews that he stayed at OkSt an extra year because he wanted one last year to be a kid and have fun in college before giving his entire life (instead of just, like, 90% of his life) over to basketball. So if Parker wants to stay because he loves Duke and wants another shot at winning a national title, I think he’s not making the smartest or safest decision, but I can respect it.

    What I CAN’T respect is head coaches feeding their athletes lies, then turning on them in the media after they declare (like Jim Boeheim calling Tyler Ennis weak and underdeveloped after Ennis declared). Or saying they can develop better with a second year of school, instead of in the NBA who have entire teams of professionals dedicated to developing young players. Or talking about the merits of getting a college education while the athletes take joke classes normal students aren’t even allowed inside of.

  11. afraz89 - Apr 14, 2014 at 3:46 PM

    Projected top 5 pick, you leave. There is no sensible argument against that.

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