The best freshman in college basketball this season has been no surprise to recruiting gurus and most NBA GM’s.
Hailing from Chicago, the 6 foot 8 inch Jabari Parker can do it all, and has for his Duke Blue Devils this season averaging 19.2 points and 8.5 rebounds.
Coming into his freshman campaign, the lights were bright immediately for Parker. He was thought to be the number two prospect in America behind Andrew Wiggins, but was thought to be more college ready than Wiggins.
Parker combines his NBA ready body with an impressive basketball iq and is a skilled forward who will do most of his work at the small forward position at the next level. Currently at Duke, he is forced into the paint and Coach K has asked him to bang. Parker has no problem doing that.
The 18-year-old may not be the best athlete in this draft, but he is just athletic enough to get the job done. He is sneaky in the sense where he won’t blow by his defender every single trip down the court, but he can. He can also weave through traffic and dunk on you.
With Parker you are getting a kid who has the desire to win more than anything else. One of the reasons he went to Duke was to win right away, and was enthralled with Coach K and the way he coaches the USA Olympic team.
His understanding of the game is top notch. You won’t find an 18-year-old that understands the right time to cut to the rim or slip a screen better than Parker.
With “The Rock” in his hands Parker is comfortable facing up a defender or with his back to the basket. When he faces up he can go right or left and is solid at using a dribble drive to attack. He can also take one dribble and create space for his jump shot. This season he is shooting 48% from the field and 37% from three-point land.
When Parker has a defender on his back, he is also an effective scorer. He is stronger than most than are guarding him at the college level and can use a power dribble and get into the lane and finish over defenders.
Here against a tough UCLA team, Parker shows the entire arsenal.
The perceived weakness of Parker coming into college was the quickness and foot speed he has. That seems to not be a problem currently. If you were to be stingy about him, you would ask him to stay in constant shape and continue to work on his three -pointer. These are two small things that scouts are a bit down on him about, but obviously not even considered a weakness.
If I were the Lakers and had a plan of winning championships in Kobe’s final seasons, this would be the guy. He is the most NBA ready and can come into the league and give you 15 and 7 a night. He will compete and isn’t afraid of the spotlight and would be able to handle LA’s constant criticism even after an off game.
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