Jabari Parker has declared himself eligible for the NBA Draft

Jabari Parker is the next freshman phenom to enter the NBA Draft

4/17/14 in NCAABB   |   Pat   |   5232 respect

Mar 16, 2014; Greensboro, NC, USA; Duke Blue Devils forward Jabari Parker (1) drives to the basket against Virginia Cavaliers forward/center Mike Tobey (10) in the championship game of the ACC college basketball tournament at Greensboro Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY SportsAs most people expected, Duke forward Jabari Parker will be entering the NBA Draft after an outstanding freshman season.

Parker made the official announcement today, saying that it was a difficult decision but the choice was clear.
Ultimately, I boiled my decision down to two simple questions:

Which environment -- college or the NBA -- offers me the best opportunity to grow as a basketball player?

Which environment -- college or the NBA -- offers me the best opportunity to grow and develop off the court?

The answer to both questions is undeniably the NBA.

Although Duke fans might not be ready to hear that, it's absolutely true.

Another thing Parker said also rings particularly true:
There is something else. My father, Sonny, played in the NBA. I know firsthand that the career span of a pro basketball player is finite. The lucky ones play until their mid-30s. With that perspective, I shrink my professional career with each year that I remain in college. It's ironic, but true.

Again, he's 100% correct. The longer he plays in college, the less he'll be able to actually make money playing professionally. As messed up as it sounds, that is (and should) be his main priority.

He could stay at Duke for 1, 2 or 3 more seasons. He could mature as a player and provide tons of entertainment to Duke fans free of charge, while the university and the NCAA reaps all the benefits. But he'll really hone his skills in the NBA, and he'll do it while making huge sums of money with which he'll be able to support his family for years.

Also, let's keep in mind: Staying at Duke wouldn't exactly guarantee that he'd be a better NBA prospect when all is said and done. Duke is renowned for great college success, but not exactly for grooming NBA players.

Parker will almost certainly be selected with one of the top 3 picks in the draft. He made the right decision. There's no doubt.
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