Seven Sweet Scoops: Decision Coming From Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins Plans Three More Visits…Posted by CLykins on December 14th, 2012
Seven Sweet Scoops is the newest and hottest column by Chad Lykins, the RTC recruiting analyst. Every Friday he will discuss 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. Jabari Parker Sets Decision Date
The nation’s No. 2 overall ranked senior, Jabari Parker, has finally set a date for his highly anticipated collegiate decision that has been delayed for the past few months. A product of Simeon Career Academy (Illinois), the 6’8” small forward will announce one of BYU, Duke, Florida, Michigan State or Stanford on Thursday, December 20. Where most see five schools listed, the forthcoming decision will likely come down to just two in the end. Throughout his entire recruitment it has been Duke and Michigan State jockeying for the lead position, a trend that will most likely continue up until Thursday afternoon according to his father Sonny Parker. “He hasn’t told me where,” Sonny Parker told USA Today. “I didn’t ask him. It’s kind of hard to say. He’s liked all the schools we’ve visited. He’s hard to read sometimes. He keeps things to himself, so I don’t put any pressure on him. I think it will probably be between Duke and Michigan State. That’s what I’m thinking.” While Parker enters the homestretch of the recruiting process, he is also recovering from a summer injury that has required a good amount of rehabilitation. Out since July, Parker made a surprise return to the court on December 1 in a season-opening victory for Simeon at the Chicago Elite Classic. In 11 limited minutes, Parker contributed six points, four rebounds and two assists while looking out of shape with an extra number of pounds added to his frame. Since then, Parker has shed at least 10 pounds and is slowly getting back to the player that has gained national recognition as one of the best high school basketball players in the country. On December 20, one school will be gaining a monumental piece to their basketball program. The question remains: Will it be Duke or Michigan State?
2. Andrew Wiggins To Take Three Visits After Senior Season
Coming off a recent visit to Florida State last week, Andrew Wiggins has decided that he is going to take a break from the recruiting process until after his senior season. Once the season is finished in March, Wiggins plans to take three more official visits to Kansas, Kentucky and North Carolina. Ohio State and Syracuse are in the mix for his fifth and final official visit that may or may not happen. Although Wiggins has shut down his recruitment as far as visits go, that has not stopped coaches from visiting him. Kentucky head coach John Calipari was on hand to watch Wiggins at the Marshall County Hoopfest in Benton, Kentucky, two weeks ago and will be in attendance at the Boyd County Roundball Classic in Ashland, Kentucky, this weekend. Ohio State head coach Thad Matta watched him this past weekend, while North Carolina head coach Roy Williams made the trip to Spring Valley, West Virginia, on Wednesday to watch the 6’7” sensation. Wiggins is currently averaging 21.5 points and 11.9 rebounds per game for No. 1 Huntington Prep (10-0) on the season.
3. Kentucky Shows More Interest In Tyus Jones
While Kentucky patiently waits for the collegiate decisions from four of its targets in the 2013 recruiting class, head coach John Calipari has turned his attention towards the 2014 class. After locking up a commitment from the newly reclassified Karl Towns Jr. last week, Calipari made two visits in four days to Minnesota to watch the nation’s top junior, point guard Tyus Jones. Out of Apple Valley High School (Minnesota), Jones released his top eight schools last month that included Kentucky along with Baylor, Duke, Kansas, Michigan State, Minnesota, North Carolina and Ohio State. The 6’0” point guard has already taken visits to both Duke and North Carolina prior to the start of the 2012-13 season and is looking to schedule his next trips to Kansas and Kentucky. The Wildcats should be in the market for a new point guard in 2014, as class of 2013 signee Andrew Harrison will most likely be one-and-done. Along with Jones, Kentucky is also in the mix for Emmanuel Mudiay, the No. 4 overall ranked junior and No. 2 ranked floor general.
4. Injured Julius Randle Schedules Final Official Visits
Julius Randle, the No. 4 overall ranked prospect in the class of 2013, is one of the most talented players at the high school level. With his combination of size and skill, he has established his name in the discussion as the best high school player in the country. Disappointingly, it will be a while before we see the 6’9” power forward back on the court after fracturing a bone in the top of his right foot. Expected to miss at least three months, Randle is reduced to sitting on the sidelines for Prestonwood Academy (Texas). With that time off, it gives Randle a chance to focus more on his recruitment and to finish his round of official visits. Currently, his list is down to six that includes Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina State, Oklahoma and Texas. Already having taken officials to Florida and Kentucky, Randle has now scheduled his final three visits to North Carolina State on January 26 for its showdown against North Carolina, Texas on February 9 against Oklahoma State, and Kansas vs. Texas on February 16, as it will allow Randle a second opportunity to see Texas as well. His remaining finalist, Oklahoma, will not receive an official visit; however, he did take an unofficial visit to Norman this fall for the Oklahoma-Notre Dame football game. Slotted for a spring decision, this recruitment is filled with rumors and possible favorites. For now, the recent buzz is that it will be extremely difficult for the likes of Florida, Kentucky and North Carolina State to pull him away from the Big 12.
5. Race For Theo Pinson Heats Up
Wesleyan Christian Academy’s (North Carolina) Theo Pinson is highly regarded as the best small forward in the class of 2014. Standing 6’6”, he is an athletic game-changer on both ends of the floor. This week the No. 7 overall ranked junior heard from the likes of Duke, Indiana, Louisville, North Carolina and Ohio State, all of whom he holds scholarship offers from. Pinson, who is in no rush to make a decision, has also set up his first official visit to Indiana for their ESPN College GameDay tilt with Michigan on February 2. As Tobacco Road powers Duke and North Carolina have the inside track on Pinson, the Hoosiers have gained great ground in this recruitment and are most definitely in the mix. Pinson’s stock rose to great heights after last summer’s Nike Global Challenge where he averaged 15 points, seven rebounds and two assists per game, including outplaying the nation’s No. 1 overall ranked senior Andrew Wiggins.
6. Sophomore Elijah Thomas Transfers High Schools
Confirmed on Wednesday, 6’9” power forward Elijah Thomas has officially transferred from Rockwall High School (Texas) to Prime Prep Academy (Texas). The No. 6 overall ranked sophomore, Thomas began classes on Thursday and will make his playing debut Saturday. In a move that will most certainly elevate his game by being surrounded by elite-level talent, Thomas also cited his family ties with senior and LSU signee Jordan Mickey. “Well, I thought it was best for me and I wanted to play with my cousin Jordan (Mickey) before he graduated,” Thomas said. Through 13 games played this season at Rockwall, Thomas was averaging 22.5 points, 12.6 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game. Prime Prep Academy has been in and out of the news in recent weeks, most notably because of the eligibility of seniors Jordan Mickey, Karviar Shepherd and Damon Collins and consensus top-five junior Emmanuel Mudiay. The UIL’s state executive committee and the District 11-3A district executive committee ruled all four players ineligible; however, made it clear that each player could play at the junior varsity level.
7. Rising Canadian Miroslav Jaksic Draws Interest From Duke
Lesser-known Miroslav Jaksic, a 6’11” Canadian power forward out of Walled Lake Western (Michigan), is quickly being recognized on a national level. According to Tariq Sbiet, a Canadian national scout for North Pole Hoops, Jaksic is now being actively recruited by the Duke Blue Devils. Jaksic is a highly skilled lefty with a terrific inside-out game. He has range that extends out to the three-point line and can fill it up from outside. In the low post, he uses good footwork and has an advanced skill set of post moves. After coming to the United States from Canada one year ago as a 2013 graduate, Jaksic’s future plans are to reclassify into the class of 2014 after this year and enroll into prep school to continuously improve his overall game. He had quite a successful summer on the AAU circuit and grabbed the attention of many high major schools, including the Blue Devils, and will certainly be a name to remember in the coming years.