Duke Beats North Carolina Behind Jabari Parker's Big Night

By Ryan Ratty
Jabari Parker
Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

Star freshman Jabari Parker put on a show late Saturday night when the Duke Blue Devils beat the North Carolina Tar Heels in Durham. Behind Parker’s 30-point, 11-rebound outing, the Blue Devils got revenge on the Tar Heels with a score of 93-81. A few weeks ago, North Carolina beat Duke in Chapel Hill. But a few weeks later and eight miles down the road, Duke knotted the series up at one.

North Carolina came back late in the second half, but the combination of Parker and Rodney Hood proved to be too much for the Tar Heels to handle. Duke was able to win on Senior Night with 2015 top commit, Jahlil Okafor, in the stands. Duke has received commits from Okafor and Tyus Jones, who are both top-five prospects in 2014’s ESPN 100.

Many have viewed Parker as the top prospect in the 2014 NBA Draft. Parker has drawn comparisons to Carmelo Anthony as he is volume scorer who can put the ball in the hole at will. Parker has improved tremendously throughout his first season in Durham. He has become a more efficient scorer, and he has learned how to rebound the ball better. Joel Embiid has also made a case for the top pick in the draft, but I believe it will be hard for a team to pass up Parker and his ability to create offense by himself.

Besides Doug McDermott, Parker is probably the best offensive player in all of college basketball. He has an arsenal of moves that allow him to get by defenders. He is also similar to LeBron James in a sense because he can handle the basketball, even though he is 6-foot-8. He also has a 7-foot-0 wingspan that simply allows him to blow by players. Even though he is a freshman, Parker is not afraid to take a big shot for the Blue Devels. In fact, Duke upperclassmen look toward Parker to score in clutch situations. The Chicago native can basically make shots from anywhere on the court.

The craziest thing about Parker and his future is that he is still only 18 years old. The potential is there to be one of the best players in the NBA. It may take time, but Parker is still ridiculously young for an NBA prospect. His physique could use some work, but no one is doubting Parker’s skills to have an affect on the game. With March Madness in less than two weeks, Parker will have an opportunity to show who really is the best player in this draft class. It is truly amazing how Duke could be a one seed, and their best player is a true freshman who is averaging 19 points and nine rebounds per game. There is no doubt in my mind that Jabari Parker is the best player in this year’s draft.

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