Duke Freshman Forward Jabari Parker Says He’ll Enter NBA Draft

Duke University forward Jabari Parker said he’ll make himself available for the National Basketball Association draft after leading his team in scoring as a freshman.

Parker, who averaged 19.1 points and 8.7 rebounds a game in his only season at the Durham, North Carolina, school and is considered a possible No. 1 draft pick, revealed his decision to turn pro on SportsIllustrated.com, saying that it came down to “two simple questions:” which environment offered the best opportunity to grow as a basketball player and which offered the best chance to develop off the court.

“The answer to both is undeniably the NBA,” he said.

Parker, 6-foot-8 and 235 pounds, is projected by NBAdraft.net to become the second player selected in the June 26 NBA draft, behind Kansas freshmen Joel Embiid. Andrew Wiggins, another Kansas freshman, is also a candidate to be the top pick after both Jayhawks said last month that they would turn pro.

Parker said he also was influenced by knowing that “the career span of a pro basketball player is finite.”

“The lucky ones play until their mid-30s,” he said. “With that perspective, I shrink my professional career with each year that I remain in college.”

An All-Atlantic Coast Conference consensus pick and the Rookie of the Year in the conference, Parker won the Wayman Tisdale Award as the top freshman in college basketball, beating out finalists Embiid, Wiggins, Tyler Ennis of Syracuse, Aaron Gordon of Arizona and Julius Randle of Kentucky. With Parker’s announcement, Randle is the only remaining finalist who has yet to announce plans to enter the NBA.

Duke went 26-9 last season, losing in the ACC Championship to Virginia and falling to Mercer in their first game of the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament.

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