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Duke's Jabari Parker declares for 2014 NBA Draft

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The phenom from Chicago is slated to be a top-five pick in June's upcoming draft.

Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

Duke forward Jabari Parker declared his eligibility for the 2014 NBA Draft on Thursday by writing an essay for Sports Illustrated, officially adding another big name to this year's class.

Parker talked about the factors that went into his decision, from his relationship with fellow Chicago native and incoming Duke freshman Jahlil Okafor to the close bond he developed with his teammates last season. Ultimately, Parker writes, his decision came down to his development as a basketball player:

Which environment -- college or the NBA -- offers me the best opportunity to grow as a basketball player?

Which environment -- college or the NBA -- offers me the best opportunity to grow and develop off the court?

The answer to both questions is undeniably the NBA.

Widely regarded as one of the best prospects in the country, the 6'8, 235-pound freshman from Chicago ultimately decided that the promise of playing in the NBA was too much to pass up. Parker is one of the most NBA-ready talents physically, often playing center for the undersized Blue Devils. Duke finished with a record of 26-9 on the season, but was ousted in the first round by Mercer in an upset.

Parker's comparisons have ranged far and wide, and all are pure speculation at this point. His skill set, at the moment, is largely on offense, where his ability to set his feet for a jumper has made him a confident scorer. Parker is dominant for his size on the glass, and shows touch in the passing game that will be welcome in any NBA offense.

How he fits within the scheme of an NBA team is a bigger question. At a thick 235 pounds, Parker's stature more closely resembles Carmelo Anthony than, say, Rudy Gay. With Anthony thriving at the power forward spot in recent years, it is more likely we see Parker playing forward than on the wing.

The 2014 NBA Draft is on Thursday, June 26.