Duke star Jabari Parker a candidate to be next big NBA star from South Side
BY HERB GOULD For Sun-Times Media March 16, 2014 7:07PM
Duke's Jabari Parker (1) goes in to dunk against Virginia in an NCAA college basketball game in the championship of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament in Greensboro, N.C., Sunday, March 16, 2014. Virginia won 72-63. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
South side story
There’s no official decision yet. But like celebrated South Side predecessors Derrick Rose (Simeon) and Anthony Davis (Perspectives-MSA), Jabari Parker (Simeon) has the kind of numbers that say, ‘‘One and done.’’
• DERRICK ROSE (6-3, 190 pounds): 14.9 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.7 assists at Memphis in 2007-08. Drafted No. 1 overall by the Bulls.
• ANTHONY DAVIS (6-10, 220 pounds): 14.2 points, 10.4 rebounds at Kentucky in 2011-12. Drafted No. 1 overall by the Hornets (now Pelicans).
• JABARI PARKER (6-8, 235 pounds): 19.2 points, 8.8 rebounds at Duke this season. Next step to be determined.
Updated: March 16, 2014 11:58PM
It’s a little premature to say, ‘‘He’s got next,’’ in terms of following an appearance in the NCAA championship game with being the top pick in the NBA draft. It wouldn’t be surprising, though, if both happened.
Because in comparing him to his one-and-done South Side predecessors, four-time Illinois state champion Jabari Parker is looking worthy of following in the footsteps of Derrick Rose and Anthony Davis.
‘‘His stock is going up and up and up,’’ analyst Dick Vitale said as Parker again tried to put Duke on his back in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game Sunday in Greensboro, N.C. ‘‘I’d like to have a piece of that stock. I’m gonna call my broker.’’
The Blue Devils came up short 72-63 against Virginia despite 23 points, eight rebounds and myriad highlight-reel moments from Parker.
‘‘Jabari played his butt off,’’ Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. ‘‘He was relentless.’’
Don’t discount Parker’s chances of helping the Blue Devils to the kind of ‘‘One Shining Moment’’ glory Rose and Davis enjoyed, then following them as the first pick in the NBA draft.
‘‘Now we’re 0-0. We just have to move on,’’ said Parker, mentioning some Public League disappointments amid Simeon’s four consecutive state titles. ‘‘I don’t get a second chance anymore. In the past, I lost city championships. I really changed my mentality to get a state championship. I know it’s going to be twice as hard now.’’
After a heartbreaking loss in the NCAA championship game with Memphis in 2008, Rose was the top overall pick by the Bulls in the draft. Davis finished even better, cutting down the nets with Kentucky in 2012 before being selected No. 1 overall by the New Orleans Hornets (now Pelicans).
If Parker chooses to turn pro, as many expect, he’ll have competition for the No. 1 overall selection, especially from Kansas stars Joel Embiid and Andrew Wiggins. And don’t underestimate the powers of Krzyzewski, who has bonded very closely with Parker, to keep the son of former NBA first-round pick Sonny Parker in Durham, N.C., for another season.
People who like to kick the tires wondered about Rose’s outside shot and Davis’ overall offense, especially when he went 1-for-10 in the NCAA title game. Those same people question how well Parker can defend on the perimeter.
If Parker is a one-and-done player, he will have done a lot. He already is picking up early first-team All-America honors and is looking like the front-runner for national freshman of the year.
What’s interesting — or terrifying for teams in Duke’s NCAA tournament path — about Parker is his ability to excel in so many ways. During the stretch that left Vitale and a TV audience gushing, Parker stepped in front of a telegraphed pass, then used surprisingly few strides to complete a thunderous dunk. On the Blue Devils’ next two possessions, he spotted up for a three-pointer and added a basket with a post-up spin move.
It wasn’t enough Sunday. Next time? Another accomplished South Sider will find out.