Jabari Parker has been in the news a lot lately, much more so than some other recent top recruits. The consensus #1 player in the 2013 high school class was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated in May, in which the magazine dubbed him “the best high school basketball player since LeBron James.” Stories about the 17-year-old have been flooding in ever since, many detailing his devout Mormon faith and whether or not he’ll serve as a missionary when he turns 19 as many LDS members do. He was interviewed recently on Good Morning America and is also the featured star for USA Basketball’s U-17 team, which will compete in the World Championships later this month. But the biggest news of all broke on Sunday, when Parker said that he’ll announce his college decision this November, long before the spring signing period begins. The rising senior from Chicago wants ”to do it for me because I want to get it over with before the season starts.” But perhaps he’s also doing it for his father and former NBA forward, Sonny Parker, who recently said, “I think Jabari is the first high school player who has experienced this social media stuff,” and that he’ll limit Jabari’s media availability this summer to let him live like a regular kid. Parker has 14 schools on his list and appears a bit overwhelmed by all the attention, so he’ll presumably have the hard part of recruiting out of the way before his senior season begins.
Parker has ‘narrowed’ his college list down to the following 14 schools: BYU, Connecticut, DePaul, Duke, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, Michigan State, Missouri, North Carolina, Northwestern, Ohio State, and Washington. It’s anyone’s guess who the top candidates are now, though we’d expect that BYU, Illinois, Northwestern, and DePaul made the cut mainly for show to support his local and religious ties. Recruiting analysts report that he has great relationships with coaches Mike Krzyzewski at Duke and Tom Izzo at Michigan State, though Parker himself spoke about his ties to DePaul (his best friend is a walk-on there), Illinois (with its new head coach, John Groce), and Kentucky (hearing from fellow Chicagoan Derrick Rose about John Calipari). He plans on cutting the list down to eight over the summer.