When Jabari Parker held his nationally televised press conference on where hed be attending college next fall, after deciding that playing for Mike Krzyzewski at Duke University was the best thing for him, there werent many questions asked of him afterward on how he thinks hell fit in with the Blue Devils.
Instead, many of the queries directed at the Simeon senior focused on the 2014 NBA Draft and if Parker had any intentions of making himself available for it. Although many pundits predict him to be a one-and-done college player, it still seems strange to ask a kid who hasnt even finished his senior year of high school, questions about the NBA.
However, given Parker's status as one of the countrys most elite prep players, those kinds of questions come with the territory.
The Simeon star, of course, is used to it, but when talking to him about basketball and the topic switches to the NBA and his thoughts on his own pro prospects, Parker likes to casually and gracefully sidestep the question, preferring to focus on the moment and not get too far ahead of himself. But that doesnt mean he doesnt think about playing ball at the highest level.
And just as hes an excellent student in the classroom, he takes that same focus and attention to detail when watching NBA basketball as he studies players and tries to incorporate things from their game into his.
When I watch the NBA, I just try and study individuals, not so much the team game, explains Parker, whose approach is a sound one considering his makeup as a player.
At 6-foot-8 with a sweet shooting stroke, Parker is a matchup problem on most nights for guys guarding him on the perimeter. But he also has a rapidly improving low-post game as well. Hes able to effectively use his size, strength, and craftiness around the basket, making him a tough cover on the blocks.
This is why hes projected to be a top pick whenever he does decide to declare for the draft. And like most players of his ilk, when he watches NBA basketball, it not for enjoyment. He watches to learn, so he studies the best because steel sharpens steel.
I like to watch a lot of Michael Jordan and how he switches directions; how he stops and changes speeds, explains Parker. I watch Kobe Bryant and his footwork and back-to-the-basket game. I like LeBron James and how he plays in transition. I also like Carmelo Anthony too.
Because of his skills and abilities, many people have compared Parker to New York Knicks star, Carmelo Anthony, and its a comparison the high school All-American is comfortable with.
Melo and I are about the same height; probably about the same skill level, too, says Parker. We have kind of the same moves, so yeah, I pattern my game after him a lot.
Pattering your game after a guy like Anthony isnt necessarily a bad thing, either. Hes been one of the NBAs premier scorers for nearly a decade and has the New York Knicks in first place in the Eastern Conference, making him an early season MVP candidate.
But theres another current NBA player and future Hall of Famer that tends to remind people of Jabari as well.
I think Carmelo is a little bit quicker; he moves better laterally, said teammate Kendrick Nunn. So if I have to say anybody, I think its Paul Pierce. Hes the closest one to Jabari right now.
Point guard Jaylon Tate thinks its much tougher to pinpoint the NBA player that most resembles Parker right now, but considers him a combination of both Anthony and Pierce.
Its tough because he has a good combination as a player hes a guard and a forward, said Tate in his analysis. He can handle the ball like a guard and he can get in the post and score. But I see him being a combination of Carmelo and Paul Pierce. Pierce can really score on the outside like Jabari can, and Carmelo is really good in the post. But in a way, hes really just his own special type of player.