Seven Sweet Scoops: Jabari Parker Visits Duke, Austin Nichols Nears Decision…Posted by CLykins on November 2nd, 2012
Seven Sweet Scoops is the newest and hottest column by Chad Lykins, the RTC recruiting analyst. Every Friday he will talk about the seven top stories from the week in the wide world of recruiting, involving offers, which prospect visited where, recent updates regarding school lists and more chatter from the recruiting scene. You can also check out more of his work at RTC with his weekly column “Who’s Got Next?”, as well as his work dedicated solely to Duke Basketball at Duke Hoop Blog. You can also follow Chad at his Twitter account @CLykinsBlog for up-to-date breaking news from the high school and college hoops scene.
Note: ESPN Recruiting used for all player rankings.
1. Duke “Welcomes Home” Jabari Parker
This past weekend the Duke Blue Devils hosted their longtime top recruiting target in the class of 2013, No. 2 ranked Jabari Parker. The 6’8″ small forward out of Simeon Career Academy (Illinois) was greeted graciously by the Duke faithful upon arriving to campus for his second official visit. Parker, who also lists BYU, Florida, Michigan State and Stanford, took in Duke’s first exhibition game of the 2012-13 season. Since the summer, it has been perceived that Duke and Michigan State share the role as the favorite for his services. However, apparent updates coming off of Parker’s visit to Durham over the weekend may have very well shifted the tide in Duke’s favor, according to Michael O’Brien of the Chicago Sun-Times. As he has already taken his first official to visit to Michigan State, the Blue Devils are in an even more comfortable position going forward. Parker will now take his third official to Florida this weekend and will round out his schedule with visits to Stanford and BYU on the following weekends. Once he completes his scheduled visits, it has been rumored that a December decision is likely with Parker making it official during the spring signing period which runs from April 17 to May 15.
2. Austin Nichols Finishes Official Visits, Approaching Decision
For the No. 12 ranked player in the Class of 2013, the visits are all finished. Power forward Austin Nichols from Briarcrest High School (Tennessee) wrapped up his schedule of official visits this past weekend, completing his final visit to Auburn. Also listing Duke, Memphis, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Virginia, Nichols and his family will now sit down with all of the information they have gathered from his list of schools and will begin the stages of making a final decision. Throughout the process, rumors have ran rampant about where Nichols is leaning. The one school that seems to be consistently at the forefront though, has been Tennessee. After visiting Knoxville two weeks ago, it seemed to be clear that the Volunteers had done enough to seal the deal for the home state native. Though no timetable for a decision has been set, the original plan all along has been for a November commitment during the early signing period.
3. Three Remain for Tyler Roberson
And then there were three. Tyler Roberson, the No. 26 ranked player in the Class of 2013, has narrowed his list of schools to Kansas, Syracuse and Villanova. The 6’8″ New Jersey native wrapped up his final visit at Villanova this past weekend, thus starting to bring his recruitment to an end. A versatile forward, Roberson is a deadly player on the offensive end, whether by using his great athleticism to attack the rim or stretch defenses from the outside. Prior to the recent cut, Syracuse has been the school long favored for Roberson and that hasn’t changed in the slightest. When discussing how he would fit in the Syracuse system, it’s a perfect match. He would be extremely effective with his length in their patented 2-3 zone and a great asset offensively in an up-tempo environment. With his visits completed, Roberson has made plans to decide within the next week or two during the early signing period.
4. 2014 Package Deal For #1 and #2?
Since the reclassification of Andrew Wiggins to the class of 2013, the class of 2014 was left with newly ranked No. 1 and No. 2 players. Tyus Jones and Jahlil Okafor both received bumps up the ladder and rightfully so. However, the biggest news revolving around these two players as of late is how they are seriously contemplating teaming up in college. In what could be a gigantic recruiting coup for one program, Jones and Okafor would be able to provide the best one-two punch in college basketball during their freshman seasons. Recently, both players were on hand at Duke for “Countdown to Craziness.” Regarding Jones, Duke has long been after the electric point guard from Minnesota and sits in great position currently. The same can be said for the highly skilled center in Okafor. With their recruitment(s) still in the early stages, Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski has done a tremendous job thus far. Other schools heavily pursuing both players as a “package deal” have been Big 10 powerhouses Michigan State and Ohio State.
5. 2013 Spalding Hoophall Classic Schedule Finalized
On Monday, the official schedule for the 2013 Hoophall Classic was finalized. One of the premier high school basketball showcases in the country, the five-day event (January 17-21) will feature a who’s who of top senior and junior prospects. Headlining from the class of 2013 are No. 1 Andrew Wiggins (Huntington Prep), No. 2 Jabari Parker (Simeon Career Academy), No. 4 Julius Randle (Prestonwood Christian Academy), No. 7 Aaron Gordon (Archbishop Mitty), No. 8 Noah Vonleh (New Hampton), No. 9 Kasey Hill (Montverde Academy) and No. 15 Wayne Selden (The Tilton). The two biggest names from the class of 2014 are No. 2 Jahlil Okafor (Whitney Young) and No. 3 Dakari Johnson (Montverde Academy). Among the top games scheduled include Huntington Prep and New Hampton facing off on Sunday evening. On the final day of the event, the two highly publicized games will be Prestonwood Christian against Archbishop Mitty and Simeon meeting national power Oak Hill Academy. Other teams participating are St. Anthony, DeMatha Catholic, Long Beach Poly, Gonzaga College, Montrose Christian, Brewster Academy, and Findlay Prep.
6. Top Center Chapel Hill Bound?
After making two consecutive visits to North Carolina in the past two weeks, No. 19 ranked prospect Kennedy Meeks has cancelled the rest of his official visits to Indiana, Kentucky and North Carolina State. Also listing Georgetown, the Charlotte big man has seemingly narrowed his list of schools down to two. With his recent cancellations, Georgetown and North Carolina are at the top of his list, but in the end the Tar Heels are the favorite to land the 6’9″, 275-pound center. Offered by North Carolina in late April, Meeks is an unstoppable force in the low post with his enormity. To better himself as a player, he will have to lose some weight to fit in with a team like the Tar Heels with their up and down style of play. The same concerns registered with current North Carolina freshman Joel James, yet James went through a life-altering transformation prior to entering his first year dropping almost 60 pounds. If Meeks can get his weight down, securing a commitment from the No. 1 center in the 2013 class would be extremely beneficial going forward for the Tar Heels. A November decision is likely.
7. Indiana Focuses on Vonleh, Leaves Anya Down to One
Breaking news coming out of the Indiana camp is that the Hoosiers have ended their pursuit for class of 2013 center, No. 31 ranked BeeJay Anya, in order to focus on power forward and fellow classmate, No. 8 ranked Noah Vonleh. For Anya, it basically leaves him down to one school, North Carolina State. The 6’9″ center has made plans to decide — for the Wolfpack — on November 16. Since reclassifying to the 2013 class in September, Vonleh has had a host of schools pursuing him feverishly. The one school that has seemed to stand out the most is Indiana. Already with a five-man class in 2013, Vonleh would be the cherry on top for head coach Tom Crean. At 6’9″, he is a freakishly athletic forward that rebounds at a good rate, solid ball handling and the ability to alter shots on the defensive end with his length. Also included on Vonleh’s list is Connecticut, Georgetown, Ohio State, North Carolina and Syracuse. He recently cancelled his first official visit to Syracuse this weekend, leaving him to make his first visit to Bloomington next weekend for the Hoosiers home opener.