High School Team: Chicago Simeon
Ranking: #2 (2013)
Recruiting: Committed to Duke
It was a long recruitment for Jabari Parker the No. 2 prospect in the country. As one of the most talked about and sought after prospects in the country Parker was the subject of a major recruiting battle, but on Thursday afternoon he chose Duke ending the battle. Here is a look at what he will bring when he gets on the floor for the Blue Devils.
On the offensive end it is clear that Parker has very few limitations. While he isn't the most explosive player athletically and isn't a knock down perimeter shooter, it is important to remember he is still young and should improve on his already impressive skill set.
Right now Parker is most comfortable when dominating the basketball. That isn't to say he is a point guard because he isn't, but Parker prefers to be someone who plays with the ball in his hands and is then able to create for himself and others. Because of that he is someone who thrives when he gets into a rhythm on the offensive end. He is capable of going on spurts of scoring, and usually is at his best when he is attacking going to the rim.
While Parker is an extremely gifted scorer who can produce from all three levels on the floor, his feel for the game is what separates him from so many other players his age who are talented. Parker has a good idea of what every player on the court should be doing, and seems to see plays develop a second or two quicker than everyone else.
Not an elite passer, he is a very good passer and is able to control games even when his shot isn't falling because he creates problems for defenses by getting into the lane and drawing defenders and making the defense rotate.
As a shooter is above average from three, but is at his best at around 15 feet. Parker has a quick first step which allows him to create separation from defends giving him the ability to get clean looks at the rim, especially at the foul line extended. He can be absolutely lethal for defenses when allowed to get to that portion of the court, and more often than not he is able to do so because of how he sets up defenders and then uses his quickness and tight ball handling ability.
When Parker does get to the rim he is a very good finisher. He won't wow anyone with ridiculous highlight reel dunks on a consistent basis, but he is more than capable of an above the rim finish through a challenge. He goes strong to the rim and is very good with body control allowing him to avoid offensive fouls.
Overall offensively he is a matchup nightmare at 6-foot-8 and 220 pounds because he is too big and skilled for most wings and too quick for bigger players. Once he gets consistent with the deep jumpers he is going to be one of the most difficult players on the planet to guard.
While Parker is better on the offensive end than on defense, he still is an excellent defender and grades out as someone who will be good at the highest level. The biggest reason for his ability on defense is effort and intelligence.
Parker has the size, strength, and versatility to guard multiple positions. While he is clearly at his best guarding a small forward on the wing, Parker is capable of sliding down and defending power forwards, and then has just enough quickness to guard most shooting guards at the college level, though when projecting forward to the NBA that would seem unlikely.
Where Parker does have a bit of a limitation on the defensive end is with his lateral quickness. He can struggle with smaller quicker players who are capable of attacking him going both right and left. Because of that his ability to be a lockdown defender is limited despite the intelligence and effort he uses on the defensive end.
While he isn't the best at stopping the drive, Parker is an excellent rebounder on the defensive end and that allows him to be a factor as well. He will really go to the glass and has a good idea of how the ball is coming off of the rim. With his natural aggression and solid athleticism and strength he more than holds his own on the glass, also he knows to block out.
Finally Parker will block a shot or two during games from the weakside. Obviously he defenders mostly on the perimeter so it isn't a huge part of his game, but when asked to guard power forwards he can alter a few shots and makes plays coming off of his man to the player with the ball.
Overall he isn't elite on this end, and there is a bit of a physical limitation that will prevent that from ever being the case, but that is nitpicking. He defends at a well above average level, and is probably one of the more intelligent defenders currently at the high school level.
If there is a system of play that doesn't fit Parker's game than that coach should be fired for having an awful system, and obviously that isn't the case here. As would be expected with a player of Parker's ability level he should fit in just fine at Duke under Coach K.
Offensively Krzyzewski tends to give his perimeter players a lot of freedom to create and make things happen, and that is where Parker excels. While Parker will have to adjust to playing off the ball a bit more often given Duke's personnel around him, the offensive style that likes to break when possible and then utilizes more motion in the half court seems to fit him well.
Defensively Duke obviously likes to deny passing lanes, and while Parker isn't quite as comfortable in that role, he should adjust very easily, and could find himself guarding inside and outside depending on the opponent and the lineup combination being used. While maybe not ideal, as Parker's current skill set might be best in more of a packline system, it still will allow him to pressure the ball when his man has it and use his intelligence and strength to be a factor on the defensive end.
Overall there should be no problems for Parker when he arrives in Durham grasping the system both on offense and defense. Like every freshman it will take a little bit of time, but he should be at an All-American level very early on. Parker will be one of the most talked about players in the country and there is no reason why he will fail to live up to the lofty hype.
Josh Gershon and Brian Snow contributed to this story