What Losing Out on Jabari Parker Means for Michigan StatePosted by KTrahan on December 21st, 2012
Michigan State went all in on the Jabari Parker sweepstakes, and after Parker announced yesterday that he would choose Duke over the Spartans, MSU coach Tom Izzo is left with quite the bind in the 2013 recruiting class. The Spartans have no commitments in the Class of 2013, mainly because they were banking on reeling in Parker, who could have been a program-changing recruit. Considering all the talent MSU has coming back next year — stars Gary Harris, Branden Dawsen and Keith Appling — on a very young team, and considering what Parker would have added to the equation, MSU would have been a sure-fire National Championship contender heading into the 2013-14 season. This team is still going to be very good, and Parker likely would have been a “one-and-done,” but that team could have been special and opened up more recruiting opportunities with future classes.
It’s not that Izzo cannot recruit five-stars — as MLive pointed out, he has already recruited five stars such as Zach Randolph, Kelvin Tolbert, Paul Davis and Shannon Brown — but Parker is in a league above those players. A recent injury has hurt his stock a little bit, but before that he was widely considered the best player in the country. Of course, star ratings are not guarantees; there will always be recruiting busts and players who cannot break the barrier between good and great. However, anyone who has seen Parker play can attest that he has the potential to be one of the best in the game as a freshman.
So what does this all mean for Michigan State? In the immediate future, it looks like there is a very real possibility that the Spartans could hold off on offering anyone else from the Class of 2013 and not sign anybody this spring. MSU already has one commitment for the 2014 class — Drake Harris, a three star guard from Grand Rapids — but the Spartans are thinking big in that class, too. MSU is in the hunt for Jahlil Okafor, a five-star center from Chicago who has taken the “best player in the city” title from Parker while Parker has been injured. MSU is also in the mix for top 2014 point guard Tyus Jones out of Apple Valley, Minnesota. Either of those players would be a huge pick-up for the Spartans and vault them into the National Championship conversation again, similar to how Parker would have had he opted for East Lansing. Now the question remains whether MSU can pull in an elite recruit in the coming years. The Spartans will always have good teams, but they have yet to prove they can recruit on the same level as Duke, Kentucky, North Carolina and the other powers in the game. One top-ranked player could change that perception. Unfortunately for Izzo and company, it will not change in 2013.