Duke’s Jabari Parker will discuss options with Mike Krzyzewski next week

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With the NBA deadline for underclassmen to enter the 2014 NBA Draft 15 days away (April 27), some of the nation’s best players are still going through the process of gathering the information needed to make a solid decision. The NCAA has a withdrawal deadline of April 15, but many programs will advise their players to use the NBA calendar when going though this process.

One such player still evaluating his options is Duke’s Jabari Parker, who earned first team All-ACC and All-America honors after his freshman season in Durham. Projected to be a high lottery pick, one would assume that the decision for Parker is a simple one: take the money and run.

However that is not the case, and in an interview on ESPNLA 710 in Los Angeles on Friday Parker stated that he’ll sit down with Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski next week to discuss his options. During the interview, Parker also noted that he doesn’t feel that a return to Duke for his sophomore season would be a risky move.

“I think there’s no risk,” Parker said. “I think the community at Duke has really done a good job of taking care of my safety and they make sure that everything is done by the playbook.

“My parents, they come from different backgrounds. They don’t even value money. My situation isn’t the best, but they’re not complaining and I’ve been going on this long so why can’t I wait another year? That’s the mindset in my head that keeps me moving.”

With many early Top 25 rankings operating under the assumption that Parker won’t return, Duke is still a team expected to contend for a national title in 2014-15. The arrival of highly regarded freshmen Jahlil Okafor, Tyus Jones and Justise Winslow (Grayson Allen is also a commit, and they’re still in the running for another high-level big in Myles Turner) will certainly help in that regard, and there will be experience as well with guards Quinn Cook and Rasheed Sulaimon and forward Amile Jefferson back as well.

And it should be noted that Rodney Hood has yet to officially declare, despite reports last month that he was leaning towards doing so.

If Parker were to decide that he’s better off returning for his sophomore campaign, Duke would be the clear favorite to cut down the nets in Indianapolis in the eyes of many.

Illinois’ injury woes continue as starting center needs knee surgery

George Niang,Abdel Nader,Mike Thorne, Jr.
AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser
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Illinois suffered another blow in what has already turned out to be a brutal season.

Mike Thorne is expected to miss the rest of the season after tearing his meniscus. He reportedly underwent surgery on Monday to repair the injury.

Thorne, a transfer from Charlotte, was starting at center for the Illini and doing a good job of it as well. He was averaging 13.4 points and 8.4 boards, although Illinois has started off the season 3-4.

The reason for that slow start has mainly been those injuries. Tracy Abrams is already out for the season after tearing his achilles, and the Illini training room looked like a M.A.S.H. unit. Kendrick Nunn just returned two games ago from surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament. LeRon Black is still getting back to speed after offseason knee surgery. Jaylon Tate is back after dislocating a finger. Jalen Coleman-Lands was slowed by a stress fracture.

John Groce entered this season on the hot seat, and dealing with all of these injuries certainly isn’t helping his cause.

NEW PODCAST: Recapping Feast Week

Kris Dunn
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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We talk about a lot of stuff of the podcast today, mainly because a lot of stuff happened since we last spoke with you all.

For starters, we need to discuss the ‘realness’ of Syracuse and Xavier. Are they both truly top 15 teams, or do they just have top 15 resumes? We also dive into Chris Mack’s epic troll-job of Dayton at the Advocare Invitational final.

Other topics we touched on: Whether or not Scott is ever going to apologize to Wayne Selden, Wichita State’s tournament hopes, Texas A&M and whether we’d take Ben Simmons, Kris Dunn or Denzel Valentine today.

As always, you can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes right here. It’s the quickest way to get access on your cell phone or tablet.