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Time for NBA, Jabari

Published: Tuesday, March 25, 2014 11:21 p.m. CST

Has Jabari Parker declared for the NBA yet? Why not?

He has to leave.

Now.

Parker has to escape a coach and a program that has lost its way.

I mean, why stay at Duke if you’re just going to become the latest blamestorming idea of a coach, who blew another high seed with a menu of McDonald’s All-Americas?

Parker has to get paid. Mike Krzyzewski might never figure out how to coach Parker, which would make the player older, not better. Why stay at Duke when you’re already a top three pick, if not No. 1 overall?

Parker can catch up with Jahlil Okafor in the pros. There’s nothing more to be gained at Duke, except bowing and scraping before Krzyzewski, who has coached his team to embarrassing losses in the tournament twice in the last 3 years.

Krzyzewski masterfully guided his second-seeded Blue Devils to a defeat at the hands of 15th-seeded Lehigh 3 years ago. Thanks for coming.

And then last weekend, Krzyzewski elated the country by directing his third-seeded  Blue Devils to a laughable loss to 14th-seeded Mercer.

Mercer was laying for Parker, and Parker was shooting badly early. He was 2-for-7 in the first half, missing a couple of three-pointers.

But look, even if your best player is having a bad game, he’s still your best player. You still need to run everything through him and let his abilities and instincts show up.

But no.

Parker collected his third foul early in the second half, and Krzyzewski pulled him. Krzyzewski would later say that sometimes freshmen play like freshmen.

Parker might’ve said that sometimes egotistical coaches get outsmarted. How can a coach with such a big head not have smart strategy inside it?

Some coaches might’ve provided defensive help for Parker at one end of the court, and ordered him to force things going to the hoop off drives and screens at the offensive end. If you have a big gun, shoot it.

But that’s not the way it went for Parker. His coach buried him after a bad game, instead of giving him the chance to show his worthiness.

Parker had little chance to show NBA general managers and scouts that he could work through foul trouble and rebound from a bad game during that same game. NBA scouts want to see that. They want to see players figure it out. They would’ve liked to have seen Duke win that way.

Heck, Parker himself might’ve wanted to see Duke win that way. I don’t know if a kid that wonderfully talented has doubts about his ability to come back from a bad game during that same game, but if so, I have to believe he would’ve fought to erase them. Sometimes freshmen play like seniors.

And you know what? Parker’s teammates might’ve wanted to see Duke win that way, too. Players know who the best players are. Players look to them to lead. Coaches who are as great as their sycophants maintain put them in that position.

Duke is a smart-kid school, right? Parker’s teammates might deduce that the emperor coach wears no clothes.

In the end, it never happened for Parker. Duke lost early again. There’s nothing more for the kid to do but get out. Parker needs a friend to tell him that. Krzyzewski won’t make him a better player, certainly not enough to chance an injury. They teach risk-reward at Duke, right?

Hey, if Parker is going to play for a loser and coach who refuses to take the blame, then he might as well get millions from the Bucks or 76ers while doing it.

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