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Report: Jabari Parker may return to Duke for sophomore season

Published: Wednesday, April 2 2014 3:56 p.m. MDT

Duke's Jabari Parker, right, drives against Virginia's Akil Mitchell, left, during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in the championship of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament in Greensboro, N.C., Sunday, March 16, 2014.

Gerry Broome, ASSOCIATED PRESS

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According to an ESPN chat with draft expert Chad Ford, several NBA scouts believe Duke freshman Jabari Parker is seriously considering returning to Duke for his sophomore season.

Ford also said he believes Parker is NBA-ready, if he chooses to enter the pro ranks this year. The 6-foot-8 Mormon forward from Chicago has until April 27 to decide if he will declare for June's NBA draft or return to school.

"He could obviously improve if he stayed, but he's an NBA starter from Day One," Ford wrote. "He'll get minutes, and playing against the best competition is the best way to improve. The only good reason for him to stay is because he loves college, wants to lead Duke to a NCAA Championship and is OK just waiting. But as far as development goes, the NBA is his best option."

Ford predicted that Parker will ultimately declare for the draft, while also saying it wouldn't surprise him if the Duke star stayed in school.

Parker is expected to be a top pick in the upcoming draft if he declares. He led the Blue Devils with 19.1 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.2 blocks and 1.2 assists per game, and he was named a first-team Associated Press All-American. Parker's first year as a Blue Devil ended when Duke lost to Mercer in its first NCAA tournament game.

“Jabari, he’s in a great position for his future, so that would be a big-time decision not to go,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski told the News Observer. “If you’re a high lottery pick, you become an asset, a monetary asset for an organization.”

Email: bjudd@deseretnews.com; Twitter: @brandonljudd

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