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ESPN analyst says a Mormon mission 'isn't out of the question' for Jabari Parker

Published: Friday, Jan. 10 2014 1:35 p.m. MST

Duke's Jabari Parker (1) celebrates with teammate Rodney Hood (5) as UCLA's Jordan Adams (3) runs the floor during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013, in New York.  Duke won 80-63. (Jason DeCrow, Associated Press) Duke's Jabari Parker (1) celebrates with teammate Rodney Hood (5) as UCLA's Jordan Adams (3) runs the floor during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013, in New York. Duke won 80-63. (Jason DeCrow, Associated Press)

A Mormon mission may still be a possibility for Duke freshman Jabari Parker, according to ESPN's Chad Ford.

In a recent ESPN.com discussion with fans, Ford was asked if there was a chance that Parker or Kansas freshman Andrew Wiggins would not declare for the 2014 NBA draft if the No. 1 pick was not guaranteed.

Ford replied that both players are considering a return to school, but there might be a twist for Parker.

"I'm told a Mormon mission still isn't out of the question for him," Ford wrote. "I asked several GMs about what would happen to his draft stock if he declared for the draft and then said he was going on a two year mission. I was surprised how many of them said they'd still consider him with the No. 1 pick."

Duke's Jabari Parker (1) dunks against UCLA during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013, in New York.  Duke won 80-63. (Jason DeCrow, Associated Press) Duke's Jabari Parker (1) dunks against UCLA during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013, in New York. Duke won 80-63. (Jason DeCrow, Associated Press)

The topic was discussed on ESPN's Pardon the Interruption (PTI) by hosts Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser on Thursday. Kornheiser opened the exchange by asking Wilbon if he would be willing to draft Parker and wait two years for him to play.

"Absolutely, yes," said Wilbon, who used David Robinson's two-year commitment to the U.S. Navy as an example of precedent.

"I think Jabari Parker is that good where you take him and you wait two years."

"Is Jabari Parker a guy who turns a franchise around?" Kornheiser asked. " ... Is this kid LeBron James?"

Wilbon suggested that Parker could be more like Grant Hill.

"Do you want to lay out two full years?" Kornheiser asked.

Duke's Jabari Parker, right, and Elon's Jack Isenbarger, left, chase a loose ball during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Greensboro, N.C., Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013. Duke won 86-48. (Chuck Burton, Associated Press) Duke's Jabari Parker, right, and Elon's Jack Isenbarger, left, chase a loose ball during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Greensboro, N.C., Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013. Duke won 86-48. (Chuck Burton, Associated Press)

Wilbon then talked about some possible draft destinations for Parker, including the Utah Jazz.

"I've got some friends in Salt Lake and they are praying for this kid every night," he said.

"A lot can happen in two years," Kornheiser said.

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