Jabari Parker: Top 10 Does Not Include Illinois Fighting Illini

By Dave Daniels

Jabari Parker made his top 10 list of schools earlier this summer and it did not include the University of Illinois.

Parker’s list is BYU, DePaul, Duke, Florida, Georgetown, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan State, North Carolina, and Stanford.

The Illini’s coaching change definitely had a factor in Parker’s decision. “It’s the timing,” his father, Sonny Parker said Thursday. “He’s been to Illinois since fifth, sixth grade, going down to the camps. He had relationships with Weber and (former assistant) Jerrance (Howard). He went down to Midnight Madness. He had a really good experience with the coaching staff there. He liked the school. He really liked the school.

“I guess at this stage it’s the relationship part. Coach Groce, I’ve been talking to him, my wife has been talking to coach Groce. He seemed nice. (Jabari) had to have a relationship with him, too. It had nothing to do with the school per se. He has to feel comfortable with who’s there and who’s going to be the coach. I don’t think he had a chance to (know Groce) because of scheduling and timing. It’s hard for coaches to call Jabari because we don’t allow coaches to call or text him. It was nothing personal (with Groce.) He likes the school. His dream is to play for his state school and win a national championship like all kids, but I think the timing, where they were and where we’re at.”

The Illini’s loss might be DePaul University’s gain.

“He’s been up there several times,” Sonny said. “Coach Billy is close to Jabari. His son Billy Garrett Jr. is a close friend. It’s right here in the city. It’s accessible to go and visit there. (DePaul’s staff) has been there two years now. It’s the timing. It’s the relationships they’ve built.”

The real question now is whether Parker would rather stay close to home or play for a National Championship. Based on my interview with Parker in July, I do not think that he will go with the Blue Demons, because he wants to be the number 1 pick in the NBA draft and he can have more of a spotlight  and offensive system playing at pretty much every other team on his list except for maybe BYU.  The Blue Demons, though, have their first shot at a blue chip basketball recruit since probably Dwyane Wade.

Parker will narrow his list down to 5 at some point in November, and college basketball fans everyway will hold their breath until that happens.

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