Parker joining winning ways in Durham


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 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 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.

Morning Update: Cubs tie up World Series with Game 2 win; Bulls begin season against Celtics

Morning Update: Cubs tie up World Series with Game 2 win; Bulls begin season against Celtics

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Cubs offense settling into World Series groove

Cubs offense settling into World Series groove

CLEVELAND - It doesn't take long for the 2016 Cubs to rebound.

Their American League-style lineup is just simply too talented to keep down for an extended period of time, especially with Kyle Schwarber now added back into the fold.

They Cubs hitters are so confident, they even left Progressive Field feeling good about themselves despite being shut out in Game 1 of the World Series.

The Cubs got on the board early Wednesday night, plating a run on the third batter of the game as Anthony Rizzo doubled home Kris Bryant.

"Take the momentum away. Take the crowd out of it," Bryant said. "It's nice to score first. Especially when you're the visiting team, to get out there and score within the first three batters is huge."

The early lead helped the lineup settle in and keep their foot on the gas for a 5-1 victory to take the series back to Wrigley Field tied one game apiece.

"Especially with a young lineup, I think when you see a few guys go up there and take some good quality at-bats, one happens after the other and the other guys seem to do the same thing," Ben Zobrist said. "It takes a lot of pressure off. When you see other guys having good, quality at-bats, you don't feel like you have to take pitches and you can be aggressive early on. 

"Oftentimes when you're aggressive in the zone is when you take the tough ones. We did a good job tonight laying off some good pitches. When they made mistakes in the zone, we really hit the ball hard. Even though we scored five runs, obviously we had a lot of baserunners on and we could've scored a lot more."

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Zobrist has a point.

The night after leaving nine runners on base and going 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position, the Cubs left 13 runners on base and tallied just three hits in 12 tries with runners in scoring position.

Between nine hits and eight walks, there were Cubs on base all game. Indians pitchers didn't retire Cubs hitters in order in an inning until the seventh.

The Cubs also forced the Indians to throw 196 pitches in nine innings and worked starter Trevor Bauer to 51 pitches through the first two frames.

"That was good for us," Bryant said. "We saw a lot of their bullpen, so we have a lot of information to learn from and hopefully use in the next game."

Anthony Rizzo summed up the lineup's mentality simply:

"Grind out at-bats, work the pitcher's pitch count up and get the next guy up," he said.

That "pass the baton" mentality is what drives this offense and after a brief lull in that regard in Los Angeles when they were shut out in back-to-back games in the NLCS, the Cubs leave Cleveland feeling pretty good.

"When we're able to [get pitch counts up], you can kinda feel it - our offense really feeds off of that," Zobrist said. "We believe that we're going to break through eventually."