Duke freshman Jabari Parker declares for NBA draft
DURHAM, N.C. -- Duke freshman Jabari Parker will enter the 2014 NBA draft, head coach Mike Krzyzewski announced Thursday.
Parker, a consensus first team All-America selection, joins Corey Maggette (1999), Luol Deng (2004), Kyrie Irving (2011) and Austin Rivers (2012) as Blue Devil freshmen to enter the NBA Draft after just one year of college basketball. The four previous freshmen early entrees were each selected among the first 13 players in their respective drafts, including Irving, who was the No. 1 overall pick in 2011.
“Jabari could not have been better. He is the epitome of what you would want a basketball player to be – outstanding everyday on the practice court and in the classroom and a very humble young man,” Krzyzewski said. “He had a fantastic freshman year and is so deserving of the opportunity to play in the NBA and follow his dream. It was an honor for us to have him in our program and he will always be a part of our family here at Duke. We will be on the Jabari Parker team the rest of our lives and we know Jabari and his family will be on the Duke team for the rest of their lives.”
Parker led Duke to a 26-9 record, a 13-5 mark in conference play and a trip to the ACC Championship game last season. The 6-8, 235-pound forward from Chicago, Ill., averaged 19.1 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.2 blocks and 1.2 assists per game while setting or tying Duke freshman records for points (670), points per game, rebounds (306), double-doubles (14), free throws made (160), free throws attempted (214), dunks (61), double-figure scoring games (33), 20-point games (18) and double-doubles (14).
He received first team All-America honors from Sporting News, Sports Illustrated, National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC), United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) and the Wooden Award. Additionally, Parker was also a finalist for the Naismith Trophy and Wooden Award. The 2014 ACC Rookie of the Year, Parker is the 16th consensus first team All-America selection under Coach K and Duke’s first since Nolan Smith in 2010-11.
“Coming out of high school, I knew that Duke was going to be a great fit for me and it ended up being one of the best experiences of my life,” Parker said. “I cannot thank Coach K enough for all his love and guidance. I had the opportunity to pick his brain throughout the year and it really paid off. I have learned how to be a man on and off the court and to be strong mentally going into practices and games. I appreciate him for challenging me to be better each and every day.”
Parker also became the first Duke freshman (12th freshman in ACC history) to lead the team in scoring and rebounds. He closed out the year ranked fourth among ACC freshman all-time in scoring and 10th in rebound average. Parker and Joe Smith (Maryland) are the only two players to rank in the top 10 of both categories.
His top performance came on the biggest stage when he scored a career-high 30 points on 10-of-17 shooting to go along with 11 rebounds in a March 8 win over North Carolina. The 30-point game was the fifth in school history by a freshman and the first since Kyrie Irving had 31 against Michigan State on Dec. 1, 2010. Parker’s 30-point effort was the most by a Duke freshman in the 238-game series history with North Carolina, breaking the previous freshman record of 29 points set by Austin Rivers on Feb. 8, 2012.
“Coach Capel and Jon [Scheyer] also really helped guide me throughout the year by serving as a father figure and/or big brother in helping me with things off the court,” Parker said. “That was really important for me without my family here. The entire coaching staff as well as the support staff is amazing and is a huge part in what make Duke such a special place. I could not have asked for a better environment to grow and develop this past year.”
Parker becomes the third Duke player in the last four years to enter the NBA Draft early and the 13th Blue Devil early entry candidate overall.