Duke freshman Jabari Parker excelled at the Kevin Durant Skills Academy last week in Washington, D.C.
“He has a great understanding of how to play,” one veteran NBA scout in attendance told SNY.tv. “He has great offensive intelligence and had a very good three days at Kevin Durant’s camp.”
The 6-foot-8 Parker is the crown jewel of Duke’s recruiting class and is projected as a top-five pick in the loaded 2014 NBA Draft.
“Jabari’s draft stock is very high,” the scout said. “He’s very well thought of. A lot of it will be decided by his play at Duke.”
Speaking of Duke, sophomore wing Rodney Hood was forced to leave the USA World University Games team Friday due to an injury to his right Achilles tendon.
“Mike Krzyzewski told people privately Hood was the best player at Duke last year,” the scout said. “He has a strained Achilles and they’re trying to keep it quiet.”
Parker is now in summer school at Duke and the school did not make him available by phone.
His father, Sonny Parker, said his son was used to playing up against pros like Durant and college guys from his time at Chicago Simeon.
“Jabari [has] been playing up pretty much all his life,” Sonny told SNY.tv. “He’s been playing up against a lot of those pros. When he was 15, 16 years he was working out against pros at the Attack Center with Tim Grover.
In Chicago, he worked out with Antoine Walker, Bobby Simmons, playing against guys at that level. He’s not really intimidated or awed by it because he’s had an experience playing against guys who play professionally and guys playing in college.
“As a freshman he played on varsity and then all the guys he played against was in college….The bigger the competiton the better he plays.”
The NBA scout said N.C. State’s T.J. Warren and Ohio State’s LaQuinton Ross also “played very well.” He called Memphis’ Geron Johnson the “best on-the-ball-defender” at the event.”
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.