The Duke Blue Devils already have arguably the best freshman in college basketball in Jabari Parker. Now, it looks like Duke will feature exciting freshman again next year after center Jahlil Okafor, the top ranked recruit in the country, and top ranked point guard Tyus Jones committed to Duke today. That means, if Parker and Rodney Hood stay, that Duke could have one of the youngest and most exciting teams Mike Krzyzewski has ever coached. The question is, will Parker and Hood stay or will they be lured away by the NBA and guaranteed riches?
Parker comes from a Mormon family and is very devoted to his faith. His mother and father steered him towards Duke based on the education the school provides. Many believe Parker is a one and done player. However, he has stated in the past that he might stay for two or three years and has made a promise to get a degree. Obviously, he can get a degree in his own time while playing in the NBA but Parker also seems interested in building something of a legacy at one of the nation’s most prominent programs.
Hood, a transfer from Mississippi State, chose to sit out last season to learn Duke’s system and to get acclimated to the academic rigors that come with being a student at Duke. Those are not the actions of a player who plans on playing one season for a school.
The additions of Okafor and Jones to a roster that could feature current sophomore guard Rasheed Sulaimon, current junior point guard Quinn Cook and current sophomore center Marshall Plumlee as well as Parker and Hood could make Duke one of the deepest and most talented teams in NCAA history.
That is a bold statement especially with a roster that will feature two freshmen and a sophomore playing large roles but when those freshmen are Okafor and Jones and the sophomore is Parker. Throw in Hood as a junior and Duke becomes a nightmare matchup for just about any team in the country with the ability to hit from anywhere on the court and play the boards.
There is a very real possibility that Okafor and Jones only committed to Duke after learning that Parker was staying beyond this season. It might only be a theory but it is very likely the two talked with Parker and other Duke players and made their decision based on the fact that they would be playing as a team.
Duke fans have a huge reason to be excited not only about the present but about the future. If Parker stays true to his word and Jahlil Okafor and Tyus Jones live up to the hype then this might be a team for the ages.