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College basketball started last night, and boy was it impressive. We saw nearly every ranked team defeat their opponent, who in most cases had no shot at the NCAA Tournament, by 15+ points.
What we also saw was the marvel that Coach Mike Krzyzewski had put together in Cameron. Duke was one of the very few teams that was playing an extremely capable squad, in Davidson. Let’s not forget that this is the team that took 3-seed Marquette down to the wire in the first round of last year’s NCAA Tournament, losing on a crazy last-second shot, 59-58. And they have every single player back from last season.
Even so, Duke managed to dismantle the Wildcats, defeating them by a score of 111-77.
Rodney Hood and Jabari Parker each had 22 points. Quinn Cook had 21. And Rasheed Sulaimon had 20.
But let’s forget about that and focus on Jabari Parker:
The 22 points says a lot, but there was much more to it. First, Jabari, a born leader, looked like a natural leading the corps at Duke. He also threw down a monstrous alley-oop, that will likely be in ESPN’s “Top 10 Plays”.
If you didn’t watch or focus on his days at Simeon, you wouldn’t know that Jabari Parker is an absolute genius. With an extraordinary GPA, he chose Duke not just for the basketball, but also for the academics. His ingeniousness shows when he’s on the floor. He is able to pick apart defenses, find the best passes, and find the best lanes to the basket better than somebody who isn’t as smart.
Also, we should focus on the rest of his stats from last night’s game. He shot up 10 shots in the game, and he only missed 2, which were both in the second half. Of those shots, 3 were three-pointers, and he made all 3 of those. He shot four foul shots and only missed one. He also had six rebounds, two assists, and a block.
Can we just take a second to marvel at how good Jabari Parker was last night?
Now, onto Kansas and Andrew Wiggins.
Kansas played University of Louisiana-Monroe, who isn’t expected to make a run at the tourney, and won by a score of 80-63.
Andrew Wiggins scored 16 points last night. He shot 9 times, and only made 5 of them, shooting slightly more than 50% from the field. Of those shots, 4 were three-pointers, and he only made half of those attempts. He shot 6 times from the charity stripe, and sunk 4 of them. Wiggins also put up 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals, and a block.
Those are great statistics, but are they #1 overall pick good? Are they good enough to warrant the countless comparisons to such greats as LeBron James, Scottie Pippen, and Tracy McGrady?
If you put the stats of the two up against each other, Wiggins only did better than Parker in steals. And, nobody is questioning that Wiggins is a better on-ball defender than Parker. But that’s just one aspect of his game.
I know that it’s very premature to say that Jabari Parker is better than Andrew Wiggins, but what I saw last night said a lot. Jabari played a capable team, and thus defense, and led Duke to dismantle them. Wiggins, on the other hand, played a very poor team, and though he and the team played very well, the term “dismantling” would be a stretch.
It definitely is early, but just remember that you saw this prediction here first: Jabari Parker will be better and more dominant than Andrew Wiggins.