Davidson allowed Duke's Jabari Parker to re-introduce himself during the Blue Devils' 111-77 victory Friday night.
Parker scored 22 points on 8-of-10 shooting -- including a perfect 3-for-3 from 3-point range -- and showed why he'll factor into that conversation moving forward. He was just one point from tying Shavlik Randolph's school record for a freshman in a season opener, set against Army on Nov. 23, 2002.
"First game in college, are you kidding me?" said Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, who has only had four other freshmen score 20 in a debut. "That was a terrific performance. I thought he played with a lot of poise."
Consider the play-by-play of Parker's opening two minutes:
• On Duke's first possession, he hit a 12-foot jumper over 6-foot-7 Davidson forward Chris Czerapowicz, despite a subtle touch of the forearm that could throw off most jump-shooters.
• His help-side defense on the ensuing Davidson possession led to a Quinn Cook block and a Parker rebound.
• Parker passed out of a double-team on the blocks, hitting Amile Jefferson in stride under the basket for a layup.
• He rebounded Czerapowicz's missed 3-pointer.
• Parker spotted up in the right corner and drilled a 3-pointer off a Rodney Hood pass, making him accountable for the Blue Devils' first seven points of the game.
Parker finished the first half perfect in five attempts from the field. How he scored was just as impressive: using a jab step to create enough space to raise up for a 3-pointer, taking a fadeaway jumper from the post on an entry pass without taking a dribble; and coming off a screen, taking a pass and making another 3-pointer.
"As a freshman you come in and out as far as your focus being sharp and going hard every play," Duke senior Tyler Thornton said. "He was very sharp to start the game, and it carried into the second half."
Parker showed a little too much poise after the game, when reporters prompted him to discuss returning home to Chicago and facing Wiggins and Kansas on Tuesday. His answers proved he's already well-versed in the skill of deflecting, too.
Parker didn't make personal comparisons between himself and Wiggins. In fact, he said he's perfectly content not having too much attention shine his way.
"All the other stuff can handle itself," Parker said. "I really don't focus on that stuff, I'm kind of glad that I'm in the position I'm in right now."
Parker was considered the No. 1 player in the 2013 class by multiple recruiting services before he was passed, in the eyes of some, by Wiggins and Randle. He said the experience of being a highly touted high-school player helped prepare him for Duke and keeps him wanting to do more.
"I have bigger goals, I've kind of been here before and I know what it takes to win," Parker said. "I have to be twice as good on my job in order for me to win, and that's more important."
Parker sports the No. 1 jersey for Duke, a move that he says was purely coincidental. Parker wore No. 22 at Simeon Career Academy, but that number was retired by Duke after Jay Williams' career from 1999-2002. Williams reached out and said he didn't care if Parker wore it.
"But that would kind of be selfish," Parker said. "... I didn't want to touch what he established himself."
The Blue Devils had four players score 20 or more Friday, including Hood, who tied Parker for the team-high 22. Hood one-upped Parker, making 9 of 10 shots from the field and had a game-high nine rebounds, a fact he reminded the rookie of during a timeout.
That's why Parker's personal assessment of his play wasn't flattering. After grabbing a combined seven rebounds in two exhibition games, he talked about his need to improve in that area -- although he had six against the Wildcats.
"I did OK, yeah. I can rebound a little bit more, be a little bit more aggressive -- just different things that I can always improve in," Parker said. "I'm going to watch some film [from Friday's win] of myself. Just stay hungry to keep on improving just so I can be there for my team."
Hood and the Blue Devils veterans are a reason why Parker isn't overly impressed by one good game. Hood, who transferred from Mississippi State, said he wasn't surprised by Parker's debut. But the times whose importance he stresses to Parker are those when Cameron Indoor Stadium doesn't have 9,314 people stuffed into it.
"The thing I'm trying to get with him is consistent doing it in practice," Hood said. "When the lights go on, he's one of those guys who can go get it. (It's) just making it a habit."