Feb 22, 2014, 9:39 PM EDT
Jabari Parker didn’t get off to a great start against No. 1 Syracuse on Saturday night.
Midway through the first half, No. 5 Duke’s star freshman had four turnovers, a handful of missed shots and a 17-8 deficit to overcome.
But the end of the night, Parker would have 19 points on 6-for-9 shooting, 10 boards and a 66-60 referee-aided win while putting on arguably the best performance of his young career.
Here’s the thing about Parker: He’s as polished, as talented and as well-rounded of a scorer as you will find out of a freshman. He bullies people in the post, he hits threes, he crosses up bigger defender, he dunks on people.
Most importantly, he’s 6-foot-8 and 235 pounds.
But he doesn’t always play like it.
Parker can have a tendency to settle for perimeter jumpers. Instead of overpowering smaller guards or out-quicking bigger forwards, he’ll settle for what the defense is giving him: threes. Parker can hit that shot, there’s no question about it, but he’s not Andre Dawkins or Trevor Cooney. He’s not a guy whose offense is tied to his ability to shoot the ball. He’s a guy that’s just that much more dangerous because he can make that shot.
There’s a difference.
Against Syracuse, what you saw out of Parker was the full array of what he’s capable of doing, and it was the difference in the game. He hit all three of the threes that he took. He got the and-one in transition. His tip-dunk over what seemed like 17 outstretched arms put Duke up six. His driving, left-handed lay-up with 1:31 left might have been the biggest shot of the game, as it put Duke up 59-56. Rakeem Christmas would score on the ensuing possession to cut the lead to one, but the Orange never got closer than that.
Because Parker corralled a defensive rebound in-between four Syracuse players after Trevor Cooney missed a driving layup attempt with less than a minute remaining.
Duke didn’t win this game because of one play or one player. The struggles of Tyler Ennis and a couple of close calls going Duke’s way might have been more important than Parker’s play.
But what we saw on Saturday was everything that Parker is capable of doing.
When he’s more than just a jump-shooter, Duke is a much more dangerous team.
- Five-star shooting guard focusing on ten schools 0
- Isaac Humphries is Kentucky’s insurance policy inside, but should that be concerning? 1
- Source: Isaac Humphries expected to commit to Kentucky, enroll in 2015 1
- Steady improvement turning Alize Johnson into valued Division I prospect 0
- Report: SMU’s Larry Brown up against ‘lack of coach control’ charge 1
- If the NCAA is correct, Donnie Tyndall is in big, big trouble 2
- Former Memphis forward Austin Nichols transferring to Virginia 3
- Nik Stauskas trolls Ohio State fans, claims Thad Matta didn’t know who he was (PHOTO) (6)
- Former Memphis forward Austin Nichols transferring to Virginia (3)
- Wichita State forward working hard to improve offensive repertoire (3)
- Bruce Pearl on his time at Tennessee: ‘I ran a clean program’ (3)
- Another Division I coach loses their job in the wake of the Donnie Tyndall scandal (3)