Execs Think Jabari Parker Won’t Enter Draft

TUESDAY, 8:18am: Parker’s father, Sonny Parker, tells Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv that his son has yet to make up his mind about the draft and will wait until after the college season to announce his intentions. The elder Parker says he doesn’t think his son spoke to Smith, though Smith’s news appears to have come from conversations with NBA executives and not Jabari Parker himself. Still, an executive tells Zagoria that he thinks there’s no way that Parker will stay in school. “Please,” the exec said. “He’s going top 3 and he’s coming out. Anything to the contrary is the ramblings of someone who couldn’t fit his column inches.”

MONDAY, 3:40pm: Executives around the NBA increasingly believe that ballyhooed draft prospect Jabari Parker will choose to stay an extra year at Duke rather than enter the NBA draft this June, according to Sam Smith of Bulls.com. Parker, who grew up in Chicago, is No. 3 on both the DraftExpress and ESPN Insider prospect rankings, and his absence from this year’s draft would deal a blow to teams banking on a top pick in what’s supposed to be one of the best classes in years.

The presence of Jahlil Okafor, a former AAU teammate of Parker’s who’ll enter Duke next season, is weighing heavily on Parker’s mind, the executives believe. Parker also places a high value on education and feels he owes it to Duke to contribute to a better season than the Blue Devils are having so far this year, Smith hears. Parker has also seen the benefits that staying in school has provided to NBA stars in the past.

Recruiting analyst Tom Konchalski told Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv in November, when Okafor revealed he would go to Duke, that he thought the decision might influence Parker to stay in college another year so they could play together. The idea seemed far-fetched at the time, but now it appears it could indeed come to fruition. Parker, a 6’8″ freshman forward, won’t have to make his call on this year’s draft until the spring, so there will be plenty of time for him to go back and forth.

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