The Duke basketball program landed yet another one of the nation's top players Thursday when No. 3 Jabari Parker offered his verbal pledge to Blue Devils head coach Mike Krzyzewski.
Parker, a 6-foot-8 small forward from Chicago (Ill.) Simeon announced his decision to join the Duke program shortly after 4 p.m. ET on national television by pulling a Duke T-shirt out of a duffle bag hidden behind the podium.
"The fall of 2013 I will be attending Duke University," Parker said from a podium at his high school.
Parker's college decision has been one of the more anticipated announcements that Duke fans have waited on over the last couple of seasons, comparable to that of Kyrie Irving in the 2010 recruiting class.
The former No. 1 prospect in the Rivals150 chose the Blue Devils over Michigan State, Stanford, BYU and Florida.
Leading up to the final decision, it was believed Parker was favoring two -- Duke and MSU; however, many did not want to discount BYU or Florida from the equation.
In the end, Parker felt like Duke was the best fit.
"Of course, the history," Parker explained as one of the reasons he chose Duke. "Duke is going to always be a team in the tournament. Most importantly the long-term investment. I can get a degree and it's not too far from home ... And it's Coach K, that's one of the best coaches ever and I wanted to experience the things he has for us next year."
The Duke coaching staff has had a lot of success going into the Chicago area, and for the most part, Krzyzewski and his staff rarely miss when they heavily target a player in the region.
Krzyzewski's and associate head coach Chris Collins' ties to the area help the Blue Devils recruit at a remarkably high level in Chicago.
The Blue Devils have drawn a strong reputation for landing some of the nation's top wing players over the years, most recently with the presence of Kyle Singler and potentially Alex Murphy in time.
Parker, who suffered a setback with a fracture in his right foot in the summer, is still working to get back into game shape, but when he's playing at a solid weight, he is one of the most difficult wings to defend in the country.
"I'm uncertain right now," he said of what he expects as a freshman. "Depends on how I do this year and how I get back. Going into the preseason they will talk about that."
Parker's pledge strengthens an already impressive 2013 class that features sharpshooter Matt Jones and physical wing Semi Ojeleye.
His addition to the Duke team will carry on the Blue Devils' reputation for featuring an outstanding perimeter, although Parker can play around the basket as well.
Asked if he will be a one-and-done player, Parker offered a quick response.
"I may play in college for two or three years. It doesn't matter to me. I want to go to school -- that's important to me. I just want to go to school."
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