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Jabari Parker Aiming For Greatness

The sweet-shooting Milwaukee Bucks rookie forward is intent on mixing even more ingredients to his already well-rounded game.

Jabari Parker
Jabari Parker

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Jabari Parker wants to have his cake and eat it too. The sweet-shooting Milwaukee Bucks rookie forward is intent on mixing even more ingredients to his already well-rounded game in hopes of being all he’s convinced he can be.

That’s saying a mouthful when you consider after just one year on the college stage, the 19-year-old Parker is already drawing comparisons to perennial All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony, this year’s second top scorer behind league MVP Kevin Durant.

“Just being able to use my tools,” the man averaging 16 points and eight rebounds in summer league action said of the whole evolution of going from college freshman to being “the man” of a NBA franchise. Early indications are the change comes as naturally for Parker as the game itself often seems to.

“I think it was pretty much the same,” he told of the transformation. “Now I get more space. They don’t bring a second guy over. At Duke I got doubled a lot, guys staying in the lane a lot. I think it’s about the same or a little bit easier. Being able to be in different areas of the floor, being able to compliment different guys. Set ball screens, cross screens. Make plays, I can also get open for shots. Trying to be unlimited at this point, working on my game.”

But Parker and Anthony can be as different as they are alike, and that too can bode well for the No. 2 overall pick in this year’s draft and Wayman Tisdale Award winner as college basketball’s best first-year player. The son of former NBA journeyman Sonny Parker, already Parker has shown a propensity for being a better facilitator than Anthony and appears to be every bit the rebounder he is.

“I’m just a forward,” the man with more wrinkles to his game than you can count added. “The game now, the 4 position is almost interchangeable. It’s called versatility.” And Parker has it in spades, along with a quiet confidence that again puts you in the mind of the hugely unflappable Anthony.

And Jabari Parker, already touted as the most NBA-ready pick from this year’s loaded pool longs to be better, priding himself on what he describes as being “greedy to learn” and the overall importance of training himself to do things in the right way.

“That’s definitely something the coaches have told me to focus on,” Parker said of the game’s finer details. “Both the pass to start the break and I can also start the break too, get the outlet. That’s the advantage for guys like me.”


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