Three weeks after announcing he is leaving Duke to enter the NBA draft, forward Jabari Parker posted a uplifting message on his Instagram account Thursday afternoon thanking Blue Devils fans.
Parker became only the second freshman at Duke under coach Mike Krzyzewski to be named team MVP last month at the Blue Devils' team banquet after a memorable freshman season in which he earned consensus All-American honors and was also named Wayman Tisdale National Freshman of the Year and ACC Rookie of the Year.
Parker's decision to leave Duke after just one season was hardly a surprise. In fact, a player taking the time to reflect on his time at a school so publicly and thank so many people who helped him was definitely more unexpected. Here is a portion of what Parker had to say.
Finally found the time to get to it so I'll start here. Last summer I spent countless nights walking across this floor, looking at the banners of the players/coaches responsible for this great program. Then I look off over into the stands, home to some of the best fans. Lastly, I walk over to our team's bench, dreaming of the moment when they call out "A 6'8 freshman from Chicago, IL." When that moment came it blessed my life. To live your dream, being apart of a family that stands up for each other, representing a program that's more than any single person. The DUKE basketball program takes a team to be successful on a daily basis. I knew from H.S. that I wanted to be apart of a program that was going to need every single person. Duke didn't need JP, JP needed Duke.
Parker is expected to be selected among the top-five picks in the June draft. The first comment on his Instagram post came from a New York Knicks fan hoping Parker ends up at Madison Square Garden. Regardless of where he goes, it's pretty obvious at this point based on his play in his only season at Duke and his maturity that Parker has a long pro career ahead of him. Here is the rest of Parker's message to Duke fans.
After the season, I go sit in the highest seats in the building aka "the nest". There I remember all the good moments I had playing on coach K court. As soon as I'm done with that, I walk out into the hallway looking at the players before me, hoping that I could be one of those guys too. To end, I want to thank everyone who embraced me into the Duke family. Especially the fans, I appreciate you for sticking up for a university that hold about 11,000 students (if that). I'm no #AntiUNC, but I'm #ProDuke. To everyone out in Carolina, thank you for the best hospitality in the world. I never met so many nice people before. I will miss you Cameron indoor, Cameron Crazies, the team, the coaches, but most of all, those little people who contribute to Duke in the biggest ways.
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