Today is National Draft Day:

Duke's Parker prepared for big stage

The SportsXchange

Mike Krzyzewski described Jabari Parker's big-game debut for Duke, in the Champions Classic at the United Center in Chicago four months ago, nothing short of brilliant.

As it turns out, that could be considered an apt description of Parker's freshman season with Blue Devils.

The All-ACC forward and national player of the year candidate leads the Blue Devils into Friday's second round game against Mercer looking for more of the same.

"I think it's pressure if we put it on ourselves," said Parker of guiding third-seeded Duke deep into the NCAA Tournament. "If we think we're going to come out and lose, then that mentality is going to stick with us. If we come out positive, we treat it like a No. 1 seed, No. 2 seed, just like they look at us. So we can do big things."

Krzyzewski said in November he wasn't sure how long Parker would be around, but it was for sure longer than his last great player -- Kyrie Irving, who played eight games in the regular season because of turf toe only to return and play well in the postseason.

The reality is, Parker might be ready to ply his trade as a professional. His well-rounded game and leadership have drawn praise of opposing coaches and players. And comparisons to other one-and-done stars, like Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant.

"Jabari's going to be an outstanding pro," Krzyzewski said Thursday, comparing Parker to Anthony. "He's in the process of development. To compare the two now, there is no comparison. But in three, four, five years, Jabari, I think, will be a franchise player. He'll be a-- he'll be one of those guys that scores -- he'll be a 25-point-a-game scorer, I think, in the NBA. But he's still developing. He's a long way from that. A long way doesn't mean many, many years. He's just a long way in having the opportunity to experience the game at different levels so then you can adjust.

"Like he's still experiencing this level, where there's more contact, the way the game is officiated, the way defenses go at you. And he'll have to do that when he goes to the pros and adjusts to playing with men. But the future is extremely bright for him."

As for how long Krzyzewski will stick around -- he was lightheaded and required medical attention after a loss at Wake Forest two weeks ago -- he shot down questions about retirement and said he's not going anywhere.

"Did my wife ask you to ask me that or what? No, I'm not thinking of retirement," he said. "I mean, every college coach expends a lot of emotional energy during the season. A number of coaches have things that happen in their family lives that, just like other people, lawyers, doctors, businesspeople. You just have to be able to handle that. That's part of that thing called life, I guess, is what they call it."

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League type:
Free Yahoo League
League size:
10 players
Draft time:
Aug 30 9:00 am
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