Jabari Parker Picks Duke Over Michigan State, Others (UPDATED)
Jabari Parker finally made his college announcement on Thursday.
“The fall of 2013 I will be attending,” he said before asking for help from Simeon Career Academy coach Rob Smith with holding up a blue shirt, “I will be attending Duke University.
The 6-foot-8, 220-pound Parker is the No. 2 prospect in the Class of 2013, he has led Simeon to three straight Illinois state championships and was the 2012 Gatorade National Player of the Year. He was down to Duke, Michigan State, Florida, BYU and Stanford.
“I just chose Duke because it was the perfect fit for me,” he said. “I think Coach [Mike] Krzyzewski…he’s just interested and he’s really played a key hand in my development, even throughout high school and telling me basic things in what I need to do. And I just felt comfortable.”
Michigan State coaches Tom Izzo and Dwayne Stephens got the last visit with Parker and his family Wednesday, but Coach K’s visit on Tuesday proved to be enough.
Parker is also a Mormon who has said he will forego his mission next year and may take it at some point in the future.
“He’s a part of the church, he’s LDS,” Sonny Parker recently told SNY.tv. “That’s always going to be there.”
A product of the same school that produced former No. 1 overall draft pick Derrick Rose, Parker has drawn comparisons to Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce and Georgetown forward Otto Porter.
He joins shooting guard Matt Jones and small forward Semi Ojeleye in Duke’s 2013 class. The Blue Devils lose forwards Mason Plumlee and Ryan Kelly and guard Seth Curry to graduation, but will add Mississippi State transfer Rodney Hood and retain many of their current pieces.
“Jabari can be great, a five- or six-year All-Star player, and make the Hall of Fame,” Smith told the New York Times. “Everyone wants me to determine who’s the best between him and Derrick. They are both humble, mild-mannered, and love their families. The things you look for in a kid, they have it.”
As a junior, Parker averaged 19.5 points, 8.9 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 3.3 blocks and 1.4 steals a game. This year he has been recovering from a broken foot suffered with the U.S. U17 team in July.
With Parker off the board, that leaves Andrew Wiggins, Julius Randle, Aaron Gordon and Dakari Johnson as the top uncommitted players in the Class of 2013. All of them are expected to sign in the spring.
Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.