Duke's stellar freshman Jabari Parker remained on the bench Saturday during the decisive final minutes of the seventh-ranked Blue Devils' 79-77 loss at Notre Dame.
Parker wasn't playing his best game. He made two of 10 shots and had just seven points. He had scored in double figures all 13 previous games and had scored at least 20 in 10 of those contests. So with the game on the line it seemed odd to leave him on the bench despite his performance to that point.
Parker is a rare talent and you never know when whatever funk he was in Saturday might wear off and he'll start hitting shots. Sometimes the challenge of winning the game has a way of invigorating a player, especially one of Parker's caliber. But Mike Krzyzewski chose to go without him. He explained Parker's absence this way afterward.
#Duke's K on why Jabari Parker sat for the final few minutes: "He wasn't playing well."
— Laura Keeley (@laurakeeley) January 4, 2014
Krzyzewski usually has a pretty good feel for his team and his players. Make that a legendary feel. So it's tough to quibble with him on this one, especially when you consider Parker scored just two points in the portion of the second half in which he was on the floor. But you have to wonder if Krzyzewski will handle the situation the same way next time he's in a close game in which Parker isn't at his best.
It's bound to happen. As Krzyzewski said, "He's human."
It was a huge win for Notre Dame after losing leading scorer Jerian Grant for the rest of the season because of an academic issue. Coach Mike Brey, a former assistant at Duke and friend to Krzyzewski, was ecstatic.
#NotreDame coach Mike Brey: "We still got 17 league games. Tomorrow is not Selection Sunday. Much as I would like it to be."
— Brian Hamilton (@BrianHamiltonSI) January 4, 2014
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