Parker joining winning ways in Durham

967719.png

Parker joining winning ways in Durham

Most years the No. 3 ranked player in a recruiting class choosing to attend Duke would be a simple case of the rich getting richer. In 2013, that will be the case and then some after Simeon star Jabari Parker pledged his commitment to Mike Krzyzewski the Blue Devils yesterday afternoon.
After a National Championship in 2009-10, Krzyzewskis Blue Devils advanced to the Sweet 16 in 2010-11 and were stunned last season in one of the biggest upsets in NCAA Tournament history, a second-round loss to fifteenth-seeded Lehigh, 75-70. But Krzyzewskis last two recruiting classes, capped off by Parkers announcement, have proved that the lasting impression recruits see is the Hall of Famers ability to win rather than the recent bumps in the road.
Joining Parker, ranked by Rivals.com as the No. 3 player in the 2013 class, in Durham next fall are four-star shooting guard Matt Jones and four-star small forward Semi Ojeleye. The consensus top-40 recruits make up what is likely the second best class in the country, behind Kentuckys unprecedented 2013 class of four players ranked in the top-20, including three in the top-10.
RELATED: Duke fans welcome home Jabari Parker
The 2013 class which could challenge Dukes 2009 class (Ryan Kelly, Mason Plumlee, Andre Dawkins) and 2011 class (Quinn Cook, Austin Rivers, Marshall Plumlee)as Coach Ks best in recent memory should form the backbone for Krzyzewskis foreseeable future, but they wont be alone.
It was only fitting that, on the week of Parkers commitment, the Blue Devils moved to No. 1 in both the Associated Press and USA TodayCoaches Polls. After previously-ranked No. 1 Indiana fell in overtime to Butler, the Blue Devils (9-0) received 62 of 65 first-place votes in the AP Top 25. Led by Mason Plumlee, who at this point looks to be the frontrunner for Player of the Year, Duke has already topped No. 3 Kentucky, VCU, No. 2 Louisville and No. 4 Ohio State in its non-conference slate.
So while the Blue Devils appear to be on their way to their 23rd ACC regular season championship and 18th straight NCAA Tournament appearance, the outlook for Parker is to the future.
He noted in his 1-on-1 with CSNChicago.com that the ability to play right away, based on what Duke was losing after this current season, was one of the main reasons for his decision.
Seniors forwards Ryan Kelly and Plumlee, and shooting guard Seth Curry will depart before Parker arrives, opening up three spots in the starting lineup. Its almost a certainty the Simeon star will fill Kellys starting role as a face-up forward, with plenty of athleticism and ability to get to the basket to boot.
The aforementioned seniors do make up three of Dukes top four leading scorers, but Krzyzewskis roster will allow the 65-year-old to reload instead of having to rebuild.
2012 McDonalds All-American Amile Jefferson has averaged less than 10 minutes per game behind Plumlee, but likely will enter the starting lineup as a more polished sophomore alongside Parker.
RELATED: Rivals' 2013 Top 150 features three Blue Devils
Point guard Quinn Cook, currently a sophomore, will give Krzyzewski an upperclassman leading the offense and 6-foot-4 shooting guard Rasheed Sulamoin a freshman connecting on better than 40 percent of his 3-pointers means the Blue Devils could have as many as four McDonalds All-Americans in the lineup next year. If 2013 recruit Jones beats out will-be senior Tyler Thornton at small forward, theres a chance all five will have All-American status. Depth, as always, will be plentiful on the Blue Devils' bench.
Theres no telling how long Parker will remain at Duke. He may be a one-and-done freshman phenom in the same mold as Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant or his fellow Simeon star Derrick Rose.
But as it stands, Parker picked the best spot for him to both see immediate playing time and win on a talented roster. He said his decision was not just about basketball, but that the "business" attitude on campus is one he can see himself succeeding in. His attitude and knack for winning help that cause, but he'll have plenty of reinforcement around him in Durham in case he needs it.

Saturday on CSN: Loyola, Illinois State host Missouri Valley opponents

paris-lee-1209.jpg

Saturday on CSN: Loyola, Illinois State host Missouri Valley opponents

CSN will have two Missouri Valley Conference games with local teams on Saturday. 

The first game tips at 3 p.m. live on CSN as Evansville heads to Loyola. The second game tips at 7 p.m. and is also live on CSN as Drake will play at Illinois State.

Loyola (13-7, 3-4) is coming off of a tough road loss in double overtime to Northern Iowa. The Ramblers have been led by senior Milton Doyle this season as the former Marshall star is one of the better guards in the Valley.

Evansville (10-10, 1-6) has dropped five straight games as they're struggling to gain any momentum in conference play. Senior guard Jaylon Brown is having an outstanding season for the Purple Aces as he's putting up 21.2 points per game.

The second matchup has Drake (6-13, 4-3) traveling to Illinois State. The Bulldogs have won three of four games and junior guard Reed Timmer is dangerous while former Saint Viator product Ore Arogundade is having a solid sophomore season. 

Illinois State (15-4, 7-0) is leading the Valley after a huge win over Wichita State as they've won eight straight games. The Redbirds are hoping to make a run to an NCAA tournament bid with another home win.

Dwyane Wade tweets apology to fans after Bulls' lopsided loss in Atlanta

Dwyane Wade tweets apology to fans after Bulls' lopsided loss in Atlanta

For the opening three quarters in Atlanta, the Bulls were off. 

So off, in fact, that Dwyane Wade tweeted an apology to Chicago fans after the game. 

Thanks to a furious run by the Bulls' bench, the final score ended at a respectable 102-93. In reality, though, the Hawks dominated. 

Wade and company trailed by 29 points at half and 30 at the end of three. The 35-year-old shooting guard finished with a minus-18 and just four points while All-Star starter Jimmy Butler posted a team-low minus-22.

The Bulls will look to shake off their lopsided loss against the Sacramento Kings on Saturday.