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Duke Basketball: Are Expectations Too High for Jabari Parker?

Jabari ParkerJabari Parker will begin his career at Duke next season as one of the most anticipated recruits in the history of the program.

He finished his high school career as a four-time state champion in the state of Illinois, 2013 National Player of the Year, McDonald’s All American, and the No. 2 ranked recruit in the country behind Andrew Wiggins. Sports Illustrated ran a cover story on Parker when he was a junior in high school that called him the best high school basketball player since LeBron James.

Parker is also already being projected as one of the top picks in the 2014 NBA Draft should he choose to declare for the NBA following his freshman season at Duke.

The amount of attention the 6’8”, 235-pound forward from Chicago, Ill., has received is incredible.

And when he announced his intentions to attend Duke, many said the Blue Devils became an immediate favorite to reach the 2014 Final Four.

Jabari Parker has drawn comparisons to numerous NBA superstars, but the two primary ones have been Carmelo Anthony and Paul Pierce.

It’s understandable to see the similarities between Parker and those two players. His physique and style of play resembles both players, particularly Carmelo Anthony. Anthony was a 6’8”, 220-pound freshman during his one season at Syracuse who had a smooth mid-range game with size and athleticism that made him difficult to stop.

Many Duke fans are hopeful that Parker will produce results similar to what Anthony did during his freshman year, which included averaging 22 points and 10 rebounds while playing 36 minutes per game. Most importantly, he also helped lead the Orange to the 2003 National Championship.

If Blue Devil fans are expecting the same type of productivity from Parker, their expectations are too high.

It’s not because Jabari Parker doesn’t have the ability to put up those types of numbers. It’s because he’ll play on a team where he doesn’t need to put up those types of numbers.

Duke will have a roster next season that features at least five players who are scoring 20 points on any given night. Parker is one of them, but there is also Quinn Cook, Rasheed Sulaimon, Rodney Hood, and Andre Dawkins. Even Amile Jefferson has shown some impressive scoring ability.

The team will also be extremely deep and there likely won’t be a need for Parker to play 36 minutes per game.

Parker will get his opportunities to score and rebound, but he’ll also have plenty of help. There will be times when the offense goes through Parker, but there will also be times when it goes through his teammates.

Carmelo Anthony had to carry Syracuse while Jabari Parker will be able to pick his spots at Duke.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Parker ends up having similar numbers to what Luol Deng did during his freshman season. Deng was also the team’s best player as a freshman but he was surrounded by talented teammates. He finished the year averaging 15.1 points and 6.9 rebounds while playing 31 minutes per game.

Luol Deng also helped lead the team to a Final Four in his freshman season at Duke.

And if Jabari Parker can live up to those expectations, Duke fans won’t complain one bit.

Photo by SportsAngle.com.