It’s official: Jabari Parker is headed to the pros.
Parker, long considered one of college basketball’s top prospects, declared for the 2014 NBA draft Thursday, announcing his intention to forego his final three years at Duke in an article for Sports Illustrated.
“This past year at Duke has been a cherished chapter in my life,” Parker wrote. “I’m very fortunate to have worn the blue and white. And I will always carry with me the memories of playing in front of the Crazies at Cameron. Now it’s time to write the next chapter. I can’t wait to get started.”
Parker was a consensus first-team All-American as a freshman this season, averaging 19.1 points and 8.7 rebounds per game for the Blue Devils. The 19-year-old guard wrote in SI that he took some time away from basketball after the season — which ended when 14th-seeded Mercer upset Duke in the second round of the NCAA tournament — before determining which path would give him the best opportunity for growth both on and off the court.
“The answer to both questions is undeniably the NBA,” he wrote.
Parker now joins a stacked draft class — the deepest in years, many say — that also includes Kentucky’s Julius Randle, Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid of Kansas, and Arizona’s Aaron Gordon.
All are considered locks for the NBA draft lottery, the order for which will be determined May 20. The draft itself is scheduled for June 26 in New York.