Jabari Parker, widely considered to be the most NBA ready talent from this year’s pool of lottery-bound first-year players, has signed with Klutch Sports, the same agency that reps four-time league MVP LeBron James.
Like the two-time defending champion Miami Heat star, Parker will be personally repped by Rich Paul, James’ boyhood pal and now lead representative. In a recent pool of NBA executives conducted by ESPN, Parker easily rated as the probable overall top pick in the June 26 draft with 17 votes, more than double the eight mentions received by Kansas star and second-place finisher Andrew Wiggins.
In being named a first-team All American and Wayman Tisale Award winner as the nation’s top first-year player, Parker averaged 19.1 and 8.7 rebound in his one season playing under Mike Krzyzewski at Duke.
The son of former NBA player Sonny Parker, the 6-foot-8, 235 pound forward’s repertoire of outside shooting and low post maneuvering has resulted in many comparing him to Knicks star Carmelo Anthony, the league’s second top scorer behind projected MVP Kevin Durant.
Even given his clearly lofty status, Parker thought long and hard before arriving at his decision to leave Duke and make himself eligible for the draft. To say that Parker took the Blue Devils upset loss to Mercer in the second round of the NCAA tournament as a major disappointment would be an understatement, particularly given his 4-of-14 shooting and overall subpar performance.
Still, most view Parker as the best of a star-laden freshman lot that also includes Wiggins, Kansas teammate Joel Embiid, Arizona’s Aaron Gordon, Kentucky’s Julius Randle and Syracuse’s Tyler Ennis.
Besides James, Paul’s growing stable of NBA clients also includes Phoenix Suns guard Eric Bledsoe, Cleveland Cavs forward Tristan Thompson, Washington Wizards forward Kevin Seraphin and San Antonio guard Cory Joseph.
Paul is also rumored to have a shot at landing Wiggins, as both he and Parker have grown immensely impressed with the hand he’s credited with having in James landing such lucrative endorsement deals as Nike, McDonalds, Coca-Cola and Samsung.