Ranking Jabari Parker’s Championship Potential Among Five Finalists
Ranking Jabari Parker's Championship Potential Among Five Finalists
Ever since Jabari Parker was deemed “the best high school basketball player since LeBron James” by Sports Illustrated, he has been on the national stage and his decision has been long awaited.
Parker is a big, athletic, very skilled and seems to have the focus necessary to be great. His versatility is impressive as he can seemingly score from anywhere on the court in any way. He also has the ability to be a playmaker for his teammates and a good feel for the game.
Parker cut his list down to five schools earlier this month including, BYU, Duke, Florida, Michigan State and Stanford. The big surprises there are that neither North Carolina nor Kentucky made the final cut, but Parker’s recruitment has been unique in several ways.
His Mormon faith may mean Parker decides to serve his mission either after college or during it. That may be a determining factor in his decision. He has also made it clear the NBA is his dream and the ultimate goal.
Regardless of where Parker goes, his commitment will be a major addition to any one of the five programs. It is unlikely his commitment comes until later in November after he has finished his final round of visits. However, considering this is the highest rated prospect in the class of 2013, anticipation is very high and college basketball fans want to know.
We do not know where Parker will go, but we can determine where Parker will have the best chance to win a national championship. Here is our ranking…
Billy Donovan has done a great job with his 2013 recruiting class, but it may not even be enough to knock Kentucky off the King’s chair in the SEC. Florida is loaded with backcourt talent after a strong 2012 recruiting class, but still lacks muscle in the frontcourt. Chris Walker is a long, skinny power forward who will not be enough down low if Patric Young leaves for the NBA draft after this season. It is unlikely Parker will want to go to Florida and have to be the top rebounder. Florida is a great program and will have plenty of success, but they need to build up their frontcourt and add some muscle before Parker can lead them to a national title.
The reason BYU is even in the discussion is because of Parker’s Mormon faith. That is an important reason and BYU is where Parker will get the most understanding if he decides to put aside basketball to serve his mission. On the other hand, BYU is not on this list because of their reputation as an elite program in college basketball. Head Coach Dave Rose has recruited well and brought in some talent, but it is not at the level of the other programs on this list. They cannot compete with the elite athleticism of championship contenders and they are losing their star, Brandon Davies, after this season. Parker can lift a program like this to the next level, but it still will not be at a national championship level.
If Parker wants to go to a national contender, Stanford may not be as far off as one might think. Johnny Dawkins is trying to make Stanford the Duke of the west coast. He may very well be on track to do so. Dawkins has had strong recruiting classes each of the last three years and there is an excellent guard in Palo Alto named Chasson Randle. Dawkins also brought in some size in the 2012 class to go along with Dwight Powell, who is full of potential. This is not your father’s Stanford Cardinal and the team actually has top tier talent. If Parker decides to go there, they could make a run in the NCAA tournament.
2. Michigan State
Michigan State will be very good this year and may return all five starters for the 2013-14 season. However, if they are successful this year, The Spartans could also lose some of their best players to the NBA draft. Gary Harris is one of the best recruits in the class of 2012 and if he excels enough to get drafted then Tom Izzo will be left with a hole at the shooting guard position. If Keith Appling has the kind of season he is capable of, he too could be headed for the next level. If Michigan State loses their backcourt to the draft next season, East Lansing becomes a much less attractive destination.
If the chance to play for Mike Krzyzewski isn’t enough of a reason to attend Duke, the fact that they could instantly be the favorite to win the title should do it. The Blue Devils would have to be atop the preseason rankings Parker’s freshman year and would have the ability to return most of their talent should he stick around for a second year, which certainly seperates them from Michigan State. Quinn Cook and Rasheed Salaimon do not have much experience, but they have the talent to compete with the Harrison twins for the best backcourt in the country. In the frontcourt, Marshall Plumlee and Amile Jefferson are also inexperienced, but they are very talented. All four players will get experience this season and should be ready to blossom by the time Parker is ready to take the court at Cameron Indoor Stadium.