For Now, Duke Fans Can Dream of a Jabari-Jahlil Combo | Zagsblog
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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Tuesday / September 27.
  • For Now, Duke Fans Can Dream of a Jabari-Jahlil Combo

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    parker-okaforARLINGTON, Texas — For the next couple of weeks, or at least until Jabari Parker makes his future plans official, Duke fans can dream.

    They can dream of a Jabari Parker-Jahlil Okafor combo leading the way to a Final Four in 2015.

    “Oh, it would be great,” the 6-foot-8 Parker, a projected top-3 pick int he NBA Draft, told SNY.tv back in November.

    “I would just work off him. A lot of attention would come up towards him and a lot of attention will come towards me, so we can work hand-in-hand with each other depending on where we are on different spots on the floor.”

    At this point in time it remains theoretically possible that the two Chicago natives, the two Morgan Wootten National High School Players of the Year, could team up under Coach K next season.

    Sonny Parker told me by phone earlier this week that his son remained “undecided” on his future and that he had until the April 27 Early Entry Deadline to make a decision.

    For the record, that’s 24 days from the day I’m writing this column, or more than three weeks of dreamy speculation for Duke fans.

    Okafor was asked Wednesday night during the McDonald’s All-American Game if he knew what Parker would end up doing.

    “No clue, no idea at all,” Okafor said before picking up game MVP honors.

    One veteran NBA scout told SNY.tv he believes that Parker is truly undecided, and he went a step further to say the he could envision Parker returning to Duke for the 2014-15 season.

    “If I was him, being able to play with [Tyus] Jones and Okafor next year, I think I got a chance to win it all,” the scout said.

    “If I wait one more year, what am I gonna be? I’ll be second [in the Draft] this year and 1 next year or I’ll be 2 this year and drafted 2 next year? Do I really need the money? Do I like college? Do I want to stay? He’s the only one [of the top guys] that doesn’t really need to go. He doesn’t need to go and he can see that.”

    The scout was making the point that big guys like Julius Randle and Joel Embiid get “double- and triple-teamed” and their “game can’t develop” at the college level, and thus should come out.

    Parker, the scout said, will be ready for the NBA whenever he comes out.

    “He can score inside, outside, he can handle the ball, he makes plays,” the scout said. “You can’t guard him with one guy. He’ll be able to play in the NBA whenever he decides to come. He just will.

    “So does he want to come now? Fine. Does he want to stay another year and play with these guys and maybe get a chance to win it all and one more year of college. If I was him I’d stay in school, but that’s me.”

    Hey, Duke fans, you can dream.

    At least for another 24 days.



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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. 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.