Duke was in town to play Boston College Saturday night, and the Blue Devils brought potential top-5 pick Jabari Parker with them. Parker drew a small army of scouts to Conte Forum, along with Boston Celtics GM Danny Ainge. They did not leave disappointed
He led Duke to an 89-68 shellacking of BC with 29 points and 16 rebounds. Five of his rebounds were on the offensive glass. He had as many total rebounds as BC had defensive rebounds.
What got my attention was how often he made me say "Wow." As if every time he made a play I was surprised. Even as he made similar plays over and over. Every time he did I was just as amazed. This was because he seemed to make these plays so effortlessly.
I'm not saying he wasn't trying. I'm saying he made the game look easy.
He played with smoothness and ease. He didn't have to push his body to make plays, it was as if he was following his body. He wasn't tense. He just flowed. His jumps looked easy, his shots, his drives, his rebounds, his dunks. I'd say he looked almost graceful, until he slammed the ball through the rim or brushed off an opponent.
He played like he was born to do nothing else. He dominated casually, like it was second nature for him to be great.
It's important to note that he was playing against a bad basketball team. A bad team that's also lacking in size. BC is 6-17 and 2-8 in the ACC.
It's also important to note that I have no experience or expertise evaluating college basketball talent then predicting how it will translate to the NBA.
However I do know special athletes when I see them. They make their game look easy. They don't look fast until they run, don't look strong until they use their muscles. And when you see what they're capable of, all you can do is say "Wow." Because even if you've seen it 100 times before, it still amazes you. Like Calvin Johnson or Rob Gronkowski. Like Martin Brodeur or Patrick Roy in their primes. Like Vladimir Guerrero years ago. You're stunned by something you've seen them do before.
That's what Jabari Parker did. He surprised me every time he did something he'd already done before.
AP Photo/Stephan Savoia