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Rumor: Duke’s Jabari Parker leaning toward returning to Duke. We’ll see.

Apr 2, 2014, 8:13 PM EDT

Duke v Mercer Getty Images

Note to Duke fans: Don’t get too excited yet. Every year guys say this in the wake of an ugly tournament loss, only to get a few see the money on the table and change their mind.

That said there have been reports all season that Duke’s potential top three pick Jabari Parker might come back for a second year, and ESPN’s Chad Ford took that to another level in his chat Wednesday.

What’s the latest info on whether or not Joel Embiid and/or Jabari Parker will enter the draft?

Chad Ford: Both are weighing their options. Both are seriously considering returning … with Parker so much so that several scouts are claiming he’s coming back to school. But I think that’s premature. They have time.

This has understandably fired up Duke fans, who would love to keep an elite scorer around for another year. There was a lot of talk about his staying and not being ready after Mike Krzyzewski benched Parker at the end of Duke’s loss to Mercer, but the fact is NBA scouts were already well aware of Parker’s defense and still have him top three on their boards.

I don’t expect either Embiid or Parker to stay another year in college, once the emotion of a tournament loss is behind them a little and they see what is in front of them. Potential high picks do return for another year, Marcus Smart being the most recent example. And how did that work out for him, by the way? You are risking injury, or at the least not making money for one more year, starting your clock for a post rookie deal contract one year later. You better really love college to give up multiple millions for another year of it.

Chad Ford goes on to say he expects them to come out.

The deadline is April 27th to decide. However, if they declare after April 15th, there’s no turning back. They’ll lose their college eligibility. Parker is really NBA ready. He could obviously improve if he stayed, but he’s a NBA starter from Day One. He’ll get minutes and playing against the best competition is the best way to improve. The only good reason for him to stay is because he loves college, wants to lead Duke to a NCAA Championship and is OK just waiting. But as far as development goes, the NBA is his best option. Embiid is a little different. He’s rawer and may not see the minutes Parker would see as a NBA rookie. He also has a big unknown with his back that could affect his draft stock if NBA doctors get wary. He would probably benefit more than Parker from returning for another year of college, but it’s really hard to turn down a Top 3 pick. I think both will probably declare at the end of the day, but I wouldn’t be shocked if they stayed either.

We will see over the next couple weeks.

  1. dacapt704 - Apr 2, 2014 at 8:34 PM

    Another 1 and done for the Dukies…Austin Rivers, Kyrie Irving…not liking this trend at all Coach K. Can’t blame Parker or the kids though, they shouldn’t have to go to college in the first place but still wish we could keep some of the elite talent for more than a year…

    • jcmeyer10 - Apr 2, 2014 at 8:37 PM

      Coach K is smart enough to play the game. Would he rather have these kids for four years? I think every coach would but that’s not how the top 10 or so prospects are thinking nowadays.

      Guy seems smart enough to know how to keep getting a top tier contract.

  2. bucrightoff - Apr 2, 2014 at 9:20 PM

    He could definitely use another year to work on his defense. Not very good in that regard.

    • kb2408 - Apr 3, 2014 at 12:00 AM

      The NBA does not draft players based on defensive ability, unless they have no offensive ability. Parker has plenty of offensive skills. If he comes out he’s a top 3 pick and a future star.

      • turkbox420 - Apr 3, 2014 at 11:21 AM

        Oladipo was regarded the best defender in the draft last year and that`s why he was projected #1, but cleveland went full retard.

  3. 1historian - Apr 2, 2014 at 10:26 PM

    He didn’t look too hot in the tournament and that’s where a lot of minds are made up. I don’t think he is guaranteed top 3 material right now because that but if he stays another year he WILL be, given good health.

    • rubendealba - Apr 3, 2014 at 10:07 AM

      So if he is not top 3 right now, who else would you put in there?
      Right now you have Wiggins, Embid, and Parker. Who takes Parker’s place then?

      Of course Parker is a top 3 pick right now. Especially recently, the NBA picks are all about POTENTIAL, and Jabari has arguably the most potential of the top 3 picks.

  4. tigers182 - Apr 2, 2014 at 11:40 PM

    He should definitely return and try to take Duke to round 2 of the tourney.

  5. kb2408 - Apr 2, 2014 at 11:57 PM

    If he returns, Duke will be preseason number 1. Actually, I’d like to see him return. Parker, Hood, Okafor and the rest of the Dukies will be tough.

  6. eugenesaxe1 - Apr 3, 2014 at 12:19 AM

    Anyone who’s guaranteed 1st-round money should jump it, and I’m not a fan of kids coming out early. But getting that big contract can easily top what most folks would make even with a degree.

  7. misremembered72 - Apr 3, 2014 at 9:59 AM

    “Oh no…”
    -Sixers fan

    • trevor123698 - Apr 3, 2014 at 12:48 PM

      any smart fan wants randle or embiid

  8. emdawt - Apr 3, 2014 at 11:37 AM

    He’s a less athletic, less selfish version of Melo. He’ll be a good complement piece but not a franchise player. Philly or Boston would be great places for him.

  9. trevor123698 - Apr 3, 2014 at 12:48 PM

    he will be lucky to go top 5 if he comes out

  10. mvp43 - Apr 3, 2014 at 3:49 PM

    Come to Milwaukee, you can hang with Wojo………

  11. pukpokito - Apr 4, 2014 at 1:23 AM

    He should return.Wiggins will be drafted ahead of him and so will Embid. most of all, with his no defense which was magnified, how is he suppose to stop anybody in the NBA? There is no off night for defense and he should have been reliable for Coach K with him being the best player on that team.

  12. chrisswitzer2189 - Apr 5, 2014 at 11:01 AM

    parker would be my pick if i was drafting #1. safest pick too. i like jerami grant a lot too.

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