Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Jabari Parker, one of the most talented and complete high school players in recent memory, will come off the board today and make one college program and its fan base very happy.
The 6-foot-8 Parker out of Chicago Simeon will announce at 4 p.m. ET on ESPNU and the smart money has always been on Duke or Michigan State.
He is also considering Florida, BYU and Stanford.
The Chicago Sun-Times conducted a poll of 16 analysts and 13 predicted Duke with three predicting Michigan State.
Still, Michigan State coach Tom Izzo and assistant Dwayne Stephens had the most recent visit with Parker and his family on Wednesday, one day after Duke was in to visit.
According to the Detroit Free Press, Izzo told Parker at the meeting: “No matter what school you choose tomorrow, me and you will always have a relationship.”
“That’s huge,” Simeon coach Rob Smith told the paper.
Both Izzo and Coach K have invested a lot of time and energy in recruiting Parker, and Sonny Parker, Jabari’s father, recently told USA Today he expected his son to pick one of those two schools.
Duke loses forwards Mason Plumlee andRyan Kelly and guard Seth Curry after this season, but still have a lot of talent returning.
Same goes for Michigan State, which loses only center Derrick Nix to graduation and could be poised to challenge for an NCAA title with Parker in 2014.
“If things went well, I think it would be one of the most talented (teams I’ve had),” Izzo told the Free Press before this season about the potential roster for 2013-14.
“It would set up almost a Syracuse situation back with Carmelo Anthony, where you have a veteran team and you inject an elite talent into it,” ESPN recruiting analyst Dave Telep told the Free Press. “I think that’s a reasonable comparison. And not only does Parker have elite talent, he has championship intangibles. That’s the key. Now you have a chance to make a run for the title.”
Parker, who is still working his way back from a broken foot suffered in July, is a Mormon who could well take a two-year mission either next year or at some point in the future.
If he opts to go next year, it would delay his entry into college and could potentially set up a situation where he goes straight to the NBA in two years.
If, on the other hand, he goes to college and then does his mission, his college career could be interrupted.
For now, though, the immediate question is: Where is he going? What do you think?
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.