Welcome to Boston, Jabari Parker!
Well, not quite. The freshman standout only made his way to a small village near the city, Chestnut Hill, to play against the Boston College Eagles at Conte Forum.
Playing in front of 21 credentialed scouts from 11 different NBA teams, Jabari Parker was extraordinary, posting season-highs in points (29) and rebounds (16), while leading the Duke Blue Devils to a dominant 89-68 victory.
"Jabari was a monster today, with the amount of rebounds and points," said Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski. "Sometimes he wasn't always rewarded for his aggressiveness on the offensive boards with the finishes, otherwise he could've had a 35 or 36-point night. But he was sensational tonight."
Parker also tied his season-high for minutes, with 38, which particularly impressed his coach, who says he played like a veteran for the first time this season.
"He was playing so hard and usually we have to substitute him out because he gets tired, but this is really the first game that I've seen him where he played so well that the played through tired," said Coach K.
"It's something that a really good player has to learn to do -- how to keep performing when you're tired -- and he did. That was good."
With an 18-33 record, the Boston Celtics currently hold the seventh worst record in the NBA. If they want to get Parker, they'll probably have to end up with a top two or three selection in this year's NBA draft.
After the game Jabari Parker was asked if he could see himself playing for the Celtics someday. Apathetically, he responded, "I don't know. It's up to that team if they want me, but at the end of the day, it's all about Duke right now."
He didn't glow with excitement like many fans of the Celtics would want him to, but his focus should be on college, which it is.
And if it means anything, it's obvious that Boston has interest in him considering president of basketball operations Danny Ainge was sitting courtside alongside assistant general manager Mike Zarren.
Two scouts from the Celtics were also in attendance, so the team was able to get a thorough look at Parker, who arguably had his greatest performance of his young college career.
Interestingly, Coach Krzyzewski explained that there are more connections between both teams, including his friendship with Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. "I love Brad. I just think he's one of the great coaches. We had an unbelievable conversation [on my Sirius XM radio show], and we're close with the Celtics because of the Pagliuca family."
He continued, "I love the Celtics and their tradition. I love the fact that [Stevens] represents such a storied franchise. That franchise is in unbelievable hands with him. He'll be fantastic."
Steve Pagliuca is the co-owner of the Celtics, and his son, Nick, is a freshman guard on Duke. He plays only sparingly, but if anyone can provide a scouting report of Parker's character on and off the court, it's one of his teammates.
Considering all of these connections, there's no denying Boston's enthusiasm for Parker, but a lot can change between now and the end of the season.
If the Celtics want a chance at selecting Parker, he has to declare for the draft, and Boston must get a high pick by finally have some luck on their side in the NBA draft lottery.
Until then, Boston Celtics fans can keep enjoying the "Safari for Jabari."
If the Boston Celtics had the first pick in the NBA draft, would you prefer to see them draft Jabari Parker?
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