Who’s Got Next? Decision Looming For An Injured Jabari Parker…Posted by CLykins on December 19th, 2012
Who’s Got Next? is a weekly column by Chad Lykins, the RTC recruiting guru. Once a week he will bring you an overview of what’s going on in the complex world of recruiting, from who is signing where among the seniors to discussing the recruitments of the top uncommitted players in the country. We also encourage you to check out his contributions 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. If you have any suggestions as to areas we are missing or different things you would like to see, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: ESPN Recruiting used for all player rankings
Duke and Michigan State Await Jabari Parker’s Decision
With every second, minute and hour that passes, so does the ever-growing anticipation regarding the impending collegiate decision from Jabari Parker. In a press conference that will be held on Thursday afternoon at Simeon Career Academy (Illinois) and televised on ESPNU at 4:00 PM ET, the nation’s No. 2 overall ranked player will decide between BYU, Duke, Florida, Michigan State and Stanford.
As Parker continues to weigh every option imaginable with each program, four of the five schools listed have set out to make their final efforts in securing the 6’8″ small forward. Florida conducted an in-home visit on Monday night, followed by Duke on Tuesday and Michigan State will be front and center at the Parker household on Wednesday. He also heard from BYU earlier this week. While Parker insists that each school is still in the mix, virtually everyone with a beating pulse will tell you that it’s either Duke or Michigan State at the end. Both schools have been actively pursuing Parker since he was a freshman in high school and have made him their top priority from the class of 2013 ever since.
Depending on what you’ve read or heard throughout the week, both sides feel extremely confident with their position in this recruitment. The Parker family has done an outstanding job at not showing any favoritism toward any one school and has been extremely tight-lipped leading up to Thursday’s announcement. Information indicating who has surged ahead of one another is purely speculation between school insiders and basketball analysts. Although chances are high that Parker has already decided on a school, this recruitment is still considered a toss-up between the Blue Devils and Spartans until the final words are spoken from the young man himself.
If Parker opts for the Blue Devils, he will be a part of a three-man recruiting class that includes shooting guard Matt Jones and small forward Semi Ojeleye. Mississippi State transfer Rodney Hood will also be joining the Blue Devils next season, as he is forced to sit this season due to NCAA transfer rules. Looking ahead, Duke will lose three seniors – Seth Curry, Mason Plumlee and Ryan Kelly – and the addition of Parker would be extremely beneficial for the Blue Devils to transition smoothly next season. For the Spartans, they currently hold zero commitments in the class of 2013. However, they will not be lacking in talent next year, as they will potentially return their four top scorers from this season’s team – Keith Appling, Gary Harris, Branden Dawson and Adreian Payne. Gaining a commitment from Parker would establish the Spartans as one of the premier teams in the country in 2013-14.
Once the decision-making process is completed, Parker can then focus solely on his senior season at Simeon. Already four games into the season, Simeon is currently 3-1; however, it is the lingering effects from Parker’s summer injury that has been the top story. Due to a fracture in his right foot suffered in July while participating with the USA U-17 team, he had been sidelined up until the season opener for the Wolverines. After going through extensive rehabilitation to further speed his recovery time, Parker decided that he felt well enough to suit up and begin the season on the court. But, by judging his play after making an unexpected return, it has became clear that this is not the same player who is regarded as one of the best high school basketball players in the country. He has looked slow, out of shape and out of sync while playing at less than 60 percent of full strength. He is currently averaging 5.0 points and 4.7 rebounds in limited action through three of Simeon’s four games played. He missed Monday’s game and is expected to rest for the remainder of December. “He’s not ready to play,” Parker’s father, Sonny Parker said in an interview with ESPNChicago.com. “He shouldn’t have been playing in the first place. He’s been doing well in practice, but practice is different than games. He has to continue to do his rehab and get his body back. It’s about his future in terms of his health. If he can continue to do his rehab and then practice with no contact and then go full practice, he can play. Right now, he’s a little ways away.” There is speculation that he could return for the Pontiac Holiday Tournament, which runs from December 27-29.
When he does return at the elite level that we’ve all grown accustomed to seeing, there is hardly anybody better at his age in the country. He’s as silky smooth as they come and is just a terrific all-around basketball player. He is the type of player who can turn a program from good to great with his mere presence, which is exactly what Duke or Michigan State is expecting upon his arrival.
Prediction: Duke. Simeon head coach Robert Smith was quoted in a recent Chicago Sun-Times article saying that, “I have never heard of anyone (from Chicago) being offered by Duke and not going.” The fact of the matter is that he’s right. Highly recruited area players who have committed to Duke after being offered includes Corey Maggette, Sean Dockery, Michael Thompson and Jon Scheyer. They are also the only four players Duke has offered in the area. Entering Thursday, Duke has a great chance at going five-for-five in landing the Chicago native, Jabari Parker. And that’s what I expect to happen. From all I have been hearing since his official visit to Durham, the vibe seems to be favoring Duke. With that being said, I feel that the Blue Devils will secure a commitment from Parker, thus closing their 2013 recruiting class as one of the top several in America.