DEERFIELD, Ill. -- While impressing a national audience during Tuesday's college basketball doubleheader at the United Center, Chicago native Jabari Parker also made some believers out of the local NBA squad.
Many Chicago Bulls players were in attendance for the event Tuesday that featured Parker and his Duke teammates against Kansas, as well as Michigan State against Kentucky.
The freshman Parker, who played nearby at Simeon High School, couldn't lead Duke to a victory, but he still scored 27 points with nine rebounds while flashing an all-around game that made him a top recruit.
Bulls reserve point guard Marquis Teague was one of the players in attendance and said after practice Wednesday that he was particularly impressed with Parker. The same went for Bulls reserve forward Taj Gibson.
"It was good to see Jabari, one of the kids I've grown to know being in the Chicago area," Gibson said. "I was extremely happy for him. Just to see his development over the years, it was good to see college basketball back."
The NBA no longer allows players to enter the NBA out of high school, but Gibson said he thought Parker would have had no problem making the transition.
"I think he can play in the NBA right now," Gibson said. "He's real humble, he works hard, he's team-oriented, and he's a great kid off the court, so I'm happy for him."
Coach Tom Thibodeau was also in attendance Tuesday, saying he had time for a brief chat with Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski. Both coaches are on the USA Basketball staff.
"It was great, a great atmosphere," Thibodeau said. "This is such a great basketball city and to have an event like that was terrific."
Thibodeau declined to comment on Parker specifically, saying rules prevent him from singling out an individual player from college, but he did say he was impressed with all four teams on hand.
Gibson, though, had no issues gushing over Parker. Asked who he would select No. 1 in next year's draft if he were an NBA general manager, Gibson didn't hesitate in saying Parker. In fact, Gibson says Parker's skill set mirrors a standout player in the NBA right now.
"He really reminds me of Carmelo [Anthony]," Gibson said. "He has a big body, can dribble in and out of the post, and his 3-point range is really great from what I've seen from him in high school, so you can tell he's been working on his game."