It seems every year we hear about a “once in a generation talent” of some sort. The cliché is particularly rampant in college sports—these guys are the future of the NFL or NBA. Naturally, not every top 10 recruit can pan out at their respective sport’s highest level, and so we move on to the next crop of youngsters poised to run the sports world.
But sometimes those hyped generational talents are truly that, and it appears that the 2013 high school basketball class will meet—if not exceed—expectations. Paul Pierce has styled himself as “The Truth”, but if that’s the case then Jabari Parker is “The Revelation”.
Parker is one of those players discussed since he younger than Greg Oden has ever felt. Duke is fortunate to have him. Once he figures out how to play Blue Devil brand defense, he will go from outstandingly good to undeniably great. However, grasping defensive concepts is difficult and, despite Parker’s basketball intelligence, that is not a given. But for the moment his offensive prowess negates his defensive shortcomings.
He’s firmly thrust himself into the National Player of the Year conversation, and is arguably the front-runner at this point. Without him, Duke is good, but without the potential to be great.
Against every opponent this year he has been spectacular. Even in his “poor” games against Arizona (where he shot 7-21 for a paltry 19 points) and Michigan (15 points) he has —if not dominated — imposed his will at points. In Duke’s victories he has dominant. There’s always the sense that he could take over a game and drop 40 points. Yet, he lets the game come to him. It just looks so incredibly easy.
Parker has drawn comparisons to Carmelo Anthony, but those shortchange Parker who possesses more athleticism and seems to have an innate sense of the moment that cannot be taught.
Of course, a lot of this is Parker being draped in the cloak of “potential” just like his fellow freshman phenoms. This particular generational talent has been better than beyond his hype. Andrew Wiggins has “struggled” by the insane (and perhaps inane) expectations slapped upon the most recent high school class, but Parker really is “the truth” of this class.