Jabari Parker has been as good as advertised in his freshman season, but the Duke standout contends he's still learning the ropes.
He'll look to help the ninth-ranked Blue Devils extend the longest active home winning streak in the nation against non-conference opponents when they face Eastern Michigan on Saturday.Parker has lived up to the hype as one of the nation's top recruits, ranking second in the ACC at 22.1 points per game with a 55.0 field-goal percentage that's third best in the conference.His 47.5 percent clip from 3-point range also ranks third. He went 4 of 8 while scoring 23 points as Duke (9-2) beat UCLA 80-63 on Dec. 19 at Madison Square Garden.Parker added 10 rebounds and five assists, and he's committed four turnovers over his last three games."I'm just going to do whatever it takes to win," Parker said. "I don't have to take 20 shots for us to win. I'm just learning to play the proper role right now."Coach Mike Krzyzewski has continued to praise Parker for his instincts despite being just 11 games into his first season. He's scored at least 20 points nine times and has three double-doubles."He's a natural," Krzyzewski said. "In different sports there are people who are naturals. Jabari is a natural. He can become even better."Somewhat overshadowed by Parker's stellar start has been the play of Mississippi State transfer Rodney Hood, who is averaging 18.5 points while shooting an ACC-best 55.4 percent from the field.While the sophomore has combined with Parker to form the third-highest scoring tandem in the nation with 40.6 points per game, Hood has scored below his average in three straight games while shooting 41.0 percent.Duke will look to extend its home win streak versus non-conference foes to 109 against Eastern Michigan, which will be facing its third Top 25 foe.The Eagles (7-3) didn't fare well against the previous two, falling to then-No. 3 Kentucky on Nov. 27 and to then-No. 21 Massachusetts on Dec. 3. Their schedule doesn't get any easier with a trip to face No. 2 Syracuse on Tuesday.EMU is coming off an 81-79 win over Oakland last Saturday, as Darell Combs' 3-pointer with 30 seconds remaining in overtime gave it the lead for good. Mike Talley finished with career highs of 21 points and nine assists."He continued to hit bucket after bucket, he got guys involved and continued to push the ball," coach Rob Murphy said of Talley. "He's continuing to grow."The redshirt junior point guard sat out all of last season after transferring from Duquesne."Every game it's somebody different that has to make an impact, and it was my day," Talley said. "Coach Murphy has confidence in me."Duke leads the ACC with 85.5 points a game while shooting a conference-best 51.4 percent. Eastern Michigan, though, is holding opponents to 36.7 percent shooting and 65.3 points per contest while forcing an average of 16.5 turnovers.The only meeting between these teams came when the Eagles beat the Blue Devils 75-60 in the first round of the 1996 NCAA tournament.