“Both are weighing their options. Both are seriously considering returning … with Parker so much so that several scouts are claiming he’s coming back to school. But I think that’s premature. They have time. The deadline is April 27th to decide. However, if they declare after April 15th, there’s no turning back. They’ll lose their college eligibility. Parker is really NBA ready. He could obviously improve if he stayed, but he’s a NBA starter from Day One. He’ll get minutes and playing against the best competition is the best way to improve. The only good reason for him to stay is because he loves college, wants to lead Duke to a NCAA Championship and is OK just waiting. But as far as development goes, the NBA is his best option. Embiid is a little different. He’s rawer and may not see the minutes Parker would see as a NBA rookie. He also has a big unknown with his back that could affect his draft stock if NBA doctors get wary. He would probably benefit more than Parker from returning for another year of college, but it’s really hard to turn down a Top 3 pick. I think both will probably declare at the end of the day, but I wouldn’t be shocked if they stayed either.”
–ESPN.com’s Chad Ford on Kansas’ Joel Embiid and Duke’s Jabari Parker deciding on whether to enter the NBA Draft
With the NCAA Tournament wrapping up — we will have more on what to watch for in North Texas tomorrow — the intrigue turns toward which players will enter the NBA Draft. Kansas freshman Andrew Wiggins has already declared for the Draft.
The other two top-five guys NBA scouts are waiting on? Duke’s Jabari Parker and Kansas’ Joel Embiid. Those players along with Wiggins should make up the top three, certainly three of the top five, when the NBA teams draft this June.
Only, there are some who believe Parker and Embiid are thinking about staying for their sophomore year’s. That is what Ford is reporting in the ESPN.com chat quoted above.
Embiid has played very little basketball in his life but showed tremendous footwork and polish compared to his experience. His late season back injury raises some concerns, but most believe it will not be a long-term problem. Some have called Embiid the best prospect of the bunch because of his high floor and how much he still has to learn and grow.
Parker has long been considered a top player in the Draft. He is the most complete and ready prospect among the freshman at the top of the Draft. He was fantastic at Duke for the most part. There are questions about his defense and no one liked how he played in Duke’s second round loss to Mercer. But he is an incredible talent and probably has no need to stay at Duke for one more year. There simply is nothing left for him to prove.