The 2014 NBA Draft class is beginning to take form now and it will be a deep one. Duke forward Jabari Parker has officially declared for the draft, announcing via a full article on Sports Illustrated:
Today I sent my letter of intent to the NBA. That makes it official — my days as a Duke basketball player are over. But my days as a Duke student are not. I intend to graduate from Duke while I’m in the NBA. I was an honor student when I arrived at Duke, and I’d like to graduate as one.
It is admirable, and speaks to his character, that Parker fully intends to continue his education. He has said that he has interests in film, writing, and business, but for now it is all about basketball.
Parker is a physical specimen at 6’8 and 240 pounds and can play both forward positions. He is an excellent scorer and is widely considered one of the most NBA-ready prospects in the draft.
In his article, Parker stressed how difficult it was to come to the decision, but expounded on his reasons for leaving Duke:
My father, Sonny, played in the NBA. I know firsthand that the career span of a pro basketball player is finite. The lucky ones play until their mid-30s. With that perspective, I shrink my professional career with each year that I remain in college. It’s ironic, but true.
Parker’s season ended with a disappointing upset loss at the hands of Mercer, but he still had an extremely successful season, averaging 19 points and nearly nine rebound in his only season with the Blue Devils.
Parker is expected to be one of the first three picks of the draft.
NBA Draft 2014: Duke’s Jabari Parker Says Being A Lakers Would Be A ‘Blessing’