His head bowed, Jabari Parker used his Duke jersey to wipe away the tears.
So distraught after the Blue Devils’ one-and-done exit from the NCAA tournament, Parker barely could speak.
The South Side native and four-time Simeon state champion said the 78-71 loss to 14th-seeded Mercer would influence his decision whether to turn pro.
Speaking barely over a whisper, Parker twice summarized his feelings with this word: “Incompletion.”
“I don’t know what I’m going to do,” he said.
A few feet away, teammate Amile Jefferson called Parker “a great kid, an amazing person. It was an honor to play with him this year. … (Mercer) did a good job of packing it in on him. He didn’t really see any daylight.”
Parker finished with 14 points, seven rebounds, four turnovers and zero assists. He shot 4-for-14, failed to draw iron on two off-balance shots close to the rim, committed an obvious goaltend and declined to close out on Jakob Gollon’s 3-pointer late in the first half. Chicago Tribune
He’s going to declare for the 2014 NBA draft. One game does not define his college career, and it apparently didn’t drop his draft stock. Some folks disagree with the last point but if scouts are still considering Joel Embiid for the no.1 pick despite the stress fracture in his back, one bad loss in the NCAA tournament shouldn’t mean a thing.
I think everyone in this draft is a overrated anyway. Andrew Wiggins was being put in the same paragraphs with Wilt Chamerberlain just four months ago. Dante Exum, an Australian kid who has never even played against college competition, is currently being compared to Michael Jordan. For once, I would love to stop the hype wagon and let the kids just play.
Journalists and scouts made Parker his money more than a year ago by created a perception that he was a guaranteed NBA superstar. Staying another year doesn’t do anything to enhance this narrative. Get your money, Parker. And don’t look back. – AL
Featured image courtesy of Adam Glanzman/Flickr.