More on Jabari Parker, Carmelo Anthony and other freshmen phenomenons

Posted by Laura Keeley on March 20, 2014 

The story in Friday’s paper, about Jabari Parker trying to channel his inner Carmelo Anthony and lead Duke to a title, references a list of 21 specific players from 2003-2013. Those 21 guys were a) one-and-done lottery picks; b) significant contributors to their teams (as defined by Ken Pomeroy as using at least 20 percent of their team’s possessions while on the floor); c) “carried” their team by either leading in points, rebounds or assists.

That list, if you’d like to see it and the raw numbers, can be found here.

Only six of those players led their teams in both scoring and rebounding, like Parker does for Duke: Anthony, Greg Oden, Kevin Durant, Kevin Love, Michael Beasley and Anthony Bennett. So, what Parker is doing is pretty rare, indeed. And it’s something that has certainly never been done at Duke.

“I don’t think anyone has had as much pressure to perform more than him,” assistant coach Jeff Capel said. “Maybe some as much, but not more than him. You’re talking about a freshman coming to one of the most historic programs in the country and basically being expected to carry the load, both with scoring and rebounding. Obviously, he’s done a great job with that, but there have been some ups and downs.

“One of the things that I’ve talked to him about, and we as a staff have challenged him about, is ‘You’re not a freshman anymore with all the things that you’ve gone through, you’re not a freshman.’ He averaged around 19 and nine for the season, and we’ve told him that’s not enough, because he can do more.”

One note about the chart: one name not on there is Anthony Davis, the national player of the year in his lone season at Kentucky in 2012. That’s because he only used 19.3 percent of the Wildcats’ possessions that year—a role-player-like amount. That was the magic in the bottle for 2012 national championship team: an abundance of talent, the right personalities to make it all work.

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