Time often changes the perception we have on ideas and practices. For instance, when I was younger, the thought of eating cheese on a burger seemed Communist. Now, imagining a burger without perfectly melted cheese seems anything but American. Mike Krzyzewski’s seeming unwillingness to recruit perceived “one-and-done” players marked much of the disdain directed at Duke over the years. The Blue Devils were always a great program. But they were “boring.”
While there is no basis for this next statement, part of me truly believes Coach K’s involvement as Team USA’s head coach altered his approach in recent years. Hence names like Kyrie Irving, Austin Rivers and presently Jabari Parker have all called (and are calling) Duke home for two semesters and – as much as it pains to admit this – Duke has become more enjoyable to watch (*douses self in holy water*).
The trend will continue next fall when two of 2014’s top five recruits, Jahlil Okafor (No. 1) and Tyus Jones (No. 5), call Durham home for at least a year. It had long since been established the two were picking the same school because of what can be described as a brothers-like bond. The offensively-gifted in the post Okafor told Sports Illustrated’s Seth Davis this summer on Jones:
“We look for the same things, the same coaching styles and philosophies. We both like the same type of stuff. That’s why we figure we want to go on this journey together and try to make something special happen in college.”
The scary sidebar to all this is .00000000000078% chance Parker decides stick in college for his sophomore season. He and Okafor both hail from Chicago and are good friends making for a nucleus along with Tyus Jones that’s equal parts ridiculous, petrifying and provocative simultaneously.
Thankfully, by this time next year Jabari will be in his tenth career professional game in Philadelphia, Salt Lake City, Boston, Charlotte or…wait for it…Los Angeles.