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FILE - In this March 16, 2014 file photo, Duke's Jabari Parker (1) tries to shoot over Virginia's Darion Atkins during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the championship of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament in Greensboro, N.C. Parker says he plans to meet with Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski when he returns to Durham, N.C., on Tuesday, April 15, 2014, and he will decide Wednesday whether to declare for the NBA draft or return to college for his sophomore year. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone, File)
Duke freshman Jabari Parker declares for NBA, could go No. 1
First Published Apr 17 2014 11:23 am • Last Updated Apr 18 2014 05:34 pm

Duke freshman Jabari Parker is entering the NBA Draft, and there’s a strong chance he’ll be the No. 1 pick.

The 6-foot-8 All-American forward was the highest-scoring freshman in Duke history. Parker, a Mormon who recently announced he had decided against going on a two-year mission for the LDS Church, was also the first freshman to lead the Blue Devils in scoring and rebounding and the first freshman in three decades to be selected team MVP.

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Coach Mike Krzyzewski said in a statement Thursday it was "an honor for us to have him in our program." In an essay posted on SI.com, Parker said the NBA offers him the best chance to develop both as a player and off the court.

"I realize how much of a privilege and an honor it is to join the ranks of the NBA," Parker wrote. "I will do everything in my power to help deliver championships to the franchise that drafts me. At the same time, I recognize the obligation to represent the league in an admirable way off the court."

Parker is from Chicago and is the fifth Blue Devils player to enter the draft after his freshman season, joining Corey Maggette, Luol Deng, Kyrie Irving and Austin Rivers.

"Jabari could not have been better," Krzyzewski said. "He is the epitome of what you would want a basketball player to be — outstanding every day on the practice court and in the classroom and a very humble young man.

"He had a fantastic freshman year and is so deserving of the opportunity to play in the NBA and follow his dream."

Parker led the Atlantic Coast Conference with an average of 8.7 rebounds and his 19.1 points were second only to North Carolina State’s T.J. Warren, who entered the NBA draft last week.




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