Duke's Jabari Parker declares for NBA Draft

Duke's Jabari Parker declares for NBA Draft
April 17, 2014, 12:00 pm
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Scott Krinch

As expected, Jabari Parker's Duke career was short-lived.

Parker released a statement though Sports Illustrated on Thursday afternoon, announcing his intentions to declare for the 2014 NBA Draft.

"Ultimately, I boiled my decision down to two simple questions," Parker wrote:

"Which environment — college or the NBA — offers me the best opportunity to grow as a basketball player?

"Which environment — college or the NBA — offers me the best opportunity to grow and develop off the court?

"The answer to both questions is undeniably the NBA."

[RELATED: Parker's Duke career end on a sour note]

Parker is projected to be a top-three pick in June's draft after an outstanding freshman season with the Blue Devils. Parker averaged 19.1 points and 8.7 rebounds in 2013-14, and captured first team All-American honors and the Wayman Tisdale Award, given to the nation's top freshman.

Before announcing his intentions to declare for the NBA, Parker recently met with Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski.

"He [Krzyzewski] told me I needed to do what's best for me and that I will always be a part of the Duke family," Parker wrote. "We talked about the next steps. We discussed everything from agents, to workouts to USA Basketball. What I appreciated most was his support and friendship.

"Today I sent my letter of intent to the NBA. That makes it official — my days as a Duke basketball player are over.

"But my days as a Duke student are not. I intend to graduate from Duke while I'm in the NBA. I was an honor student when I arrived at Duke, and I'd like to graduate as one."

The Chicago native had a decorated high school career at Simeon, leading the Wolverines to four Class 4A state titles.

[RELATED: As March Madness gears up, Bulls' draft prospects abound]

The Blue Devils would have been heavy favorites to win the national title next season if Parker returned for his sophomore campaign. Duke has a loaded 2014 recruiting class coming in, highlighted by two of Rivals' Top 5 recruits in Whitney Young Center Jahlil Okafor (No. 1) and Apple Valley guard Tyus Jones (No. 5).

Okafor, who led the Dolphins to the 2014 Class 4A title, shared his thoughts regarding Parker's decision: 

Parker, along with Kansas freshmen Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid, are three of the top prospects entering the 2014 NBA Draft.