Jabari Parker, who is a Chicago native and potential top-overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft, is reported to be returning to Duke for his Sophomore season. Parker, along with Andrew Wiggins and Julius Randle, are the consensus top-three picks in this years class who were expected to comprise one of the best drafts in a decade. Parker has been most closely compared to Carmelo Anthony by many scouts, and it’s because of this that the NBA is fighting the perception that non-contender teams are racing to the bottom of the standings to be in a position to grab him or the other two blue-chip prospects.
As a freshman, Parker has shown that he’s the most steady player with a potential career that could easily extend for fifteen years barring anything unforeseen. His numbers thus far this year are 19 Pts, 7 Reb while shooting nearly 50% from the floor. On top of his stellar numbers, Parker has played nearly 30-minutes in all 18 Games this year for Duke. Duke, however, has been struggling, which may be influencing his decision to stay in school. Duke is currently 14-4 on the year and ranked #18 in the country – after being ranked #4 in the pre-season.
It seems unfathomable that Parker would continue his collegiate career and risk possible injury. Under the harsh light of Derrick Rose and Rajon Rondo, Parker must fear blowing out his knee or some other catastrophic injury and risk losing millions of dollars. As a potential top overall pick, the slotted money and endorsements that come with it are too much to pass on for Parker and his family. Although football is a totally different animal than basketball in terms of potential injury, South Carolina DE and probable number one overall pick Jadaveon Clowney basically took this year off to avoid the same risk. The money is so lucrative and these kids’ careers are so short that a player with Parker’s prospects is almost forced to take the plunge into the money pool at first instance.