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Duke's Jabari Parker draws crowd of NBA stars

 
 
Posted Thursday, January 23rd 2014 @ 9am  by Marc J. Spears

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Jabari Parker did his best to play it cool, but every once in a while he peeked over at LeBron JamesKobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade sitting courtside.

Yes, three of the NBA's biggest stars had come to the BankUnited Center on Wednesday night to watch Parker play.

Duke's freshman forward didn't disappoint, totaling 17 points, 15 rebounds and three blocks as the Blue Devils routed Miami 67-46. Miami Heat owner Micky Arison, several NBA scouts and others members of the Heat and Los Angeles Lakers also were part of the sellout crowd.

"It was blessing to see that they look out for the little guys in this basketball fraternity," Parker said of James, Bryant and Wade. "To tell you the truth, I'm focused on our guys. But you're a kid and you're going to look up at them every once in a while."

Parker is expected to be among the short list of candidates considered for the top pick in June's NBA draft. DraftExpress.com has him ranked as the third-best prospect. Parker is averaging 18.9 points and 7.6 rebounds this season. He also was the first freshman since Texas' Kevin Durant (2006-07 season) to score at least 20 points in his first seven games.

One NBA scout in attendance, however, expressed concerns about Parker's ability to run the floor and questioned how much more his game could grow. Kansas freshman center Joel Embiid and Oklahoma State sophomore guard Marcus Smart drew more praise from this scout.

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