No offense, but anyone who thought, let alone insisted, that Jabari Parker was coming back to Duke next year because he's such a special kid was dreaming. To be kind about it.
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We don't live in a society, let alone nurture a sports culture, where much of anything is valued higher than getting what you can as soon as you can. The polite among us will await our turn, but that's about it. And what constitutes 'our turn' varies with the individual.
Yes, Parker is apparently a fine young man. Yes, his religion indicates an extra degree of belief in deferred gratification through a two-year commitment to missionary work at some point. But seriously, turn down a chance at millions of dollars and national fame and attention to go to college classes, follow others' orders, and hang out in Durham?
We may think Durham is great, but at age 19 a bigger, brighter, more exciting world beckons. Heck, for some folks, that bigger, brighter, more exciting world leads them away from modest-sized cities like Durham no matter what their age.
This has nothing to do with living in a culture that suddenly demands instant gratification. Old fogeys have been whining about that one for decades.
Meanwhile, it's an odd aspect of the contemporary one-and-done arrangement that Duke now paces the ACC in freshman departures.
Until 1999 Mike Krzyzewski had retained every eligible player until graduation or transfer. If they stayed, his players at least completed their four years of eligibility. This while North Carolina regularly lost top players early.
Yet even the Tar Heels have not set newcomers free with the frequency it's happened at Duke -- this is the third time in four seasons, and the fifth time overall, a Blue Devil freshman cashed in his chips and jumped to the NBA.
Remarkably enough, neither of the ACC's traditional powerhouses holds the mark for most freshmen lost to the pros, however. That distinction belongs to Georgia Tech, which had a pair under Bobby Cremins (Stephon Marbury and Dion Glover) and four under Paul Hewitt.
Questions about Hewitt's sideline acumen shadowed his 11 seasons at Georgia Tech (2001-11), particularly over the last few years of his tenure. But no one should underestimate Hewitt's ability to bring in talented prospects.
|SHORT SHELF LIFE
ACC Players Who Went Pro After Freshman Year
|Clemson||Skip Wise, 1975|
|Duke||Corey Maggette, 1999|
|Luol Deng, 2004|
|Kyrie Irving, 2011|
|Austin Rivers, 2012|
|Jabari Parker, 2014|
|Georgia Tech||Stephon Marbury, 1996|
|Dion Glover, 1998|
|Chris Bosh, 2003|
|Javaris Crittenton, 2007|
|Thaddeus Young, 2007|
|Derrick Favors, 2010|
|North Carolina||Marvin Williams, 2005|
|Brandan Wright, 2007|
|N.C. State||J.J. Hickson, 2008|
|Syracuse||Tyler Ennis, 2014|