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Every now and then we’re lucky enough to come across a freshman who captivates an entire nation with his skill, leadership and athleticism.  For the 2013 season, while they’re have been a long list of phenomenal freshman, this week we’d like to feature Duke forward Jabari Parker.

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(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

This season Parker has led the Blue Devils to a 17-4 overall record and 6-2 in the ACC as he has transformed into one of the better players in the entire country.  Through 21 games this season, Jabari has averaged 18.8 points to go along 8.1 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game.  But his talent goes much deeper than statistics as he has become a leader both on and off the court for the Blue Devils.

While Jabari has been exceptional all year long, what I found most surprising about his breakout season was how he started the year.  It’s one thing for a freshman to develop into a great player over the course of the season but it’s an entirely different story for them to dominate the competition from day one.  In the first seven games of his collegiate career Parker averaged over 23 points–scoring at least 21 points in each game–and nearly 9 rebounds per game.  It was clear from early on that Parker was in fact the real deal.

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(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

I’ve also been extremely impressed with Parker’s consistency.  In fact, Jabari has scored at least 12 points in 20 of Duke’s 22 games this year.  Now that may not impress everyone but you have to remember how long the basketball season is.  Even the best players in the country are bound to have an off night.  Parker’s ability to show up every night for his time speaks volumes to his maturity, determination and skill.

Throughout the year Parker has put up outstanding numbers and unbelievable performances but his best game occurred nearly three months ago in a 83-94 loss to no. 5 Kansas.  This matchup featured the country’s top two freshman in Parker and the Jayhawks’ Andrew Wiggins.  And as anticipated, the two freshman dominated the game with one of the best games of their collegiate careers.

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(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Jabari led the way for the Blue Devils with 27 points on 9-of-18 shooting with nine rebounds and two steals.  He controlled the game on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball displaying his diverse skill set.  He was active on defense and a force to be reckoned with on offense knocking down shots from all over the court, including four three-pointers.  Despite the loss Parker officially announced his arrival onto the college basketball scene.

Unfortunately in today’s world of college hoops, the best players often time leave for the NBA after their freshman season.  And with our luck Parker will do just that and book it for the pros at the end of the season.  So it’s even more important that we appreciate what he brings to college basketball while we still can.

Who’s your favorite college basketball player?

Featured Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images