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Basketball Thu Dec 27 2012

The Duke-Chicago Connection

dookdookdook.jpgAs you may have heard, Simeon senior Jabari Parker announced his college choice last Thursday: Duke. The choice was no surprise -- many prognosticators thought it would be Michigan State or Duke -- and makes plenty of sense. Parker's the sort of squeaky-clean, team-first guy that excels at Duke, not unlike former Chicago-area Duke star Jon Scheyer, who might just be our generation's hated-by-everyone-else folk hero for the Blue Devils. Additionally, Parker's heading somewhere with quite a few connections to the area. Duke coach Mike Kryzewski is from Chicago and attended the now-defunct Archbishop Weber High School. Current Bulls star Luol Deng spent his lone college season at Duke. Former Bulls Jay Williams and Elton Brand are also Blue Devils.

Recent Chicago products to play at Duke, however, haven't done so well. (Save Scheyer, who is probably this generation's hated-by-everyone-else Duke folk hero, ala Christian Laettner.)

Julian graduate Sean Dockery was a nationally ranked top-25 player in the class of 2002, which featured guys like Dee Brown, J.J. Redick and Carmelo Anthony. Though he played four years for the Blue Devils -- and had a pretty awesome game-winner his senior year against Virginia Tech -- he never reached any significant professional level, and now seems to spend his time producing music and tweeting lots of smiley faces, etc.

Providence Catholic's Mike Thompson was supposed to be a 6'10" monster for the Blue Devils -- a top-30 guy in Dockery's 2002 class -- but never saw significant time, transferring to Northwestern after a couple seasons. But don't feel bad for Thompson: according to his LinkedIn, he's part of some pretty powerful organizations in our fine city.

Fenwick's Corey Maggette has had the most illustrious basketball career of the three -- though his shady recruitment nearly landed Duke in hot water. I've been scrambling my brains for Parker comparisons in the last few weeks, and Maggette might actually fit the bill: similar size, similar skills, but a drastically lesser work ethic. Parker seems to have the intangibles Maggette lacks in the NBA -- though even without those, the Oak Park native has lasted over a decade and counting in the league.

We know that Parker's headed somewhere next year that will take care of him, might help him become an above-average NBA player, and will earn him scorn from fans of every other team. What we don't know, now, is if Parker will be able to overcome injuries and cap his career with a fourth state title.

Photo credit: Damian Strohmeyer/SI

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