This happens every year. A player everyone expects to bolt for the NBA has a bad NCAA Tournament get, his team gets upset much earlier than expected, and because he’s a competitor he’s frustrated. So when a reporter asks him minutes after the game if he is going pro he says something that gives the hometown fans hope.
Then a few weeks later, no matter what was said before, he looks at the millions of dollars on the table and reaching his NBA dream, and he goes pro.
This year, meet Jabari Parker of Duke.
Wait a few weeks. Wait for his emotions to calm down. He will forever feel bad about how his college career ended but make no mistake — this will be the end. He will go pro.
And his rough performance is not going to drop him down draft boards.
Much of America discovered Friday what NBA scouts already knew — Parker is a defensive liability right now. Ed Isaacson of NBADraftBlog.com wrote about it at PBT Friday morning, before Duke took the court. Yes, Mike Krzyzewski benched him for his defense and scouts ripped him for his effort on that end Friday, but this is not new information.
It does not change the fact he already has a game that can score a variety of ways at the NBA level — in the post, from three, in transition, off the bounce, catch-and-shoot — and NBA teams believe they can mold his defense. They think they can mold it more quickly and efficiently than another year in college would.
So he will come out, as will Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid and Julius Randall and a host of others.
No matter what they say in the minutes after a loss.