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College basketball: Jabari Parker still weighing options on going pro or staying at Duke

The Duke freshman was in Oklahoma City, where he was presented with the Wayman Tisdale Award on Monday as the nation’s top freshman at the Devon Energy College Basketball Awards at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum.
by Ryan Aber Published: April 14, 2014

photo - The Wayman Tisdale Award winner Jabari Parker talks the media during the  College Basketball awards banquet the  National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Monday, April 14, 2014.  Photo by David McDaniel, The Oklahoman
The Wayman Tisdale Award winner Jabari Parker talks the media during the College Basketball awards banquet the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Monday, April 14, 2014. Photo by David McDaniel, The Oklahoman

Parker grew up in Chicago and admits the draw of NBA money is tantalizing, but he can’t let that cloud his thinking either.

“Money is never an issue in my case,” Parker said. “My family isn’t doing the best, but they’re doing enough to help me improve.

“The big deciding factor is where can I max out my potential — where can I improve as a basketball player and live a comfortable life.”

Parker averaged 19.3 points, second in the Atlantic Coast Conference. He led the league in rebounding with 8.8 per game.

But he struggled in the NCAA Tournament as Duke was upset by Mercer.

The Blue Devils figure to be a Final Four favorite with or without Parker, adding a class that includes another Chicago native, Jahlil Okafor.

Parker said he’s talked to family, coaches, others in the athletic department at Duke and his friends as he tries to decide what’s best for him.

“Different perspectives are important,” Parker said.

Smart said he’d tell Parker to be careful who he listened to.

“You’ve got to find the right people to lean on,” Smart said. “You’ve got to know who they are. ...You’ve just got to stay focused and know that no matter what anybody says, ultimately it comes down to what you want and what you say. You have the last say, because it’s your life, not theirs.”

by Ryan Aber
OU Athletics Reporter
Ryan Aber has worked for The Oklahoman since 2006, covering high schools, the Oklahoma City RedHawks, the Oklahoma City Barons and OU football recruiting. An Oklahoma City native, Aber graduated from Northeastern State. Before joining The...
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