Duke freshman Jabari Parker to enter NBA Draft

jabari parkerIt wasn’t an easy choice, but Jabari Parker made the choice that most of us assumed he would, declaring on Thursday that he will enter the 2014 NBA Draft, where many analysts think he will be the top pick.

Parker was the ACC Freshman of the Year after averaging 19.1 points and 8.7 rebounds per game at Duke, which went 26-9 in his only season in Durham, but things didn’t end well for Parker, with the Blue Devils losing their final two games, the ACC Tournament final to Virginia and their opening NCAA Tournament game to Mercer.

“After losing in the NCAA tournament, I needed to clear my mind. I was incredibly disappointed and blamed myself. I didn’t watch basketball or go to the gym for several days,” Parker wrote in a guest column on SI.com today.

The decision, he wrote in the column, came down to two things: which environment offered him the best chance to grow as a player, on the court and off the court.

“The answer to both questions is undeniably the NBA,” Parker wrote.

Parker consulted with Duke coach mike krzyzewski on the decision and gave him his blessing, according to Parker.

“Coach K told me I needed to do what’s best for me and that I will always be a part of the Duke family,” Parker wrote. “We talked about the next steps. We discussed everything from agents, to workouts to USA Basketball. What I appreciated most was his support and friendship.”

Krzyzewski, in a statement, said Parker “is the epitome of what you would want a basketball player to be — outstanding every day on the practice court and in the classroom and a very humble young man.”

“He had a fantastic freshman year and is so deserving of the opportunity to play in the NBA and follow his dream,” Krzyzewski said.

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