Durham, NC (SportsNetwork.com) - Duke freshman forward Jabari Parker announced his intention to enter the upcoming NBA Draft.
"Coming out of high school, I knew that Duke was going to be a great fit for me and it ended up being one of the best experiences of my life," said Parker when announcing the move on Thursday. "I cannot thank Coach K enough for all his love and guidance. I had the opportunity to pick his brain throughout the year and it really paid off. I have learned how to be a man on and off the court and to be strong mentally going into practices and games. I appreciate him for challenging me to be better each and every day."
A Chicago native and physical force at 6-foot-8 and 235 pounds, Parker led Duke to a 26-9 record, a 13-5 mark in conference play and a trip to the ACC Championship game last season. He averaged 19.1 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.2 blocks and 1.2 assists per game while setting or tying Duke freshman records for points (670), points per game, rebounds (306) and double-doubles (14).
Parker also became the first Duke freshman (12th freshman in ACC history) to lead the team in scoring and rebounds. He closed out the year ranked fourth among ACC freshman all-time in scoring and 10th in rebound average. Parker and Joe Smith (Maryland) are the only two players to rank in the top 10 of both categories.
"Jabari could not have been better. He is the epitome of what you would want a basketball player to be -- outstanding every day on the practice court and in the classroom and a very humble young man," said Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski. "He had a fantastic freshman year and is so deserving of the opportunity to play in the NBA and follow his dream. It was an honor for us to have him in our program and he will always be a part of our family here at Duke. We will be on the Jabari Parker team the rest of our lives and we know Jabari and his family will be on the Duke team for the rest of their lives."
Parker joins Corey Maggette (1999), Luol Deng (2004), Kyrie Irving (2011) and Austin Rivers (2012) as the only Blue Devils to enter the draft after one season.