As the nation’s No. 2-ranked recruit, Jabari Parker is expected to be a one-and-done type of college player. Although the Kentucky Wildcats are known for that type of player, they fail to be one of the final five choices for the high school senior.
Parker, a Chicago-native, is expected to make his decision on Dec. 20, according to his father, Sonny Parker:
“He hasn’t told me where. I didn’t ask him. It’s kind of hard to say. He’s liked all the schools we’ve visited. He’s hard to read sometimes. He keeps things to himself, so I don’t put any pressure on him. I think it will probably be between Duke and Michigan State. That’s what I’m thinking.”
Straight from the father’s mouth, the list of school seems to be narrowed down to a two-horse race between Michigan State and Duke, but who should the talented recruit commit to?
The choice isn’t as clear as people may think seeing as both schools offer seemingly the same perks. Both schools have a great history of winning. Coach Mike Krzyzewski has been one of the best coaches in college basketball for over a decade now and has Duke at the top of the ranks, or close to it, seemingly every year.
He has been the Blue Devils’ coach for 33 seasons now and has coached the program to eight national title games, winning half of those. Oh, and did I mention he is approaching 950 wins, a number he will reach by the end of the season, extending his record of all-time wins by close to 50 over Bob Knight.
What could top such a winning tradition at the nation’s most successful program for the past two and a half decades? Well, Tom Izzo puts up a good argument of his own.
Izzo has coached the Spartans since 1995, taking over for legendary coach Jud Heathcoate. He has put Michigan State on the map almost single-handedly. In his 18th season in East Lansing, Izzo has taken the Spartans to six Final Fours in the past 13 seasons, including a national title.
He also has seven Big Ten titles under his belt and has made Michigan State into one of the more dominant teams in the country for the better part of a decade.
For Parker, to consider where he would like to be at this time next season, he must realize what Izzo has promised to every player to come through Michigan State: if you believe in his system, you will be successful. Every four-year player to play for Izzo has been to the Final Four at least once and that is a great recruiting tool.
Although it’s quite obvious Parker will likely be NBA Draft-bound after one season with whichever school he picks, Michigan State has not been to the Final Four since 2010 and is due for another in a four-year span which the 2013-14 season falls under.
What else could draw Parker to the Spartans? Izzo has been hounding him for years now and has just one scholarship to use for the 2013 class. To be the lone target of Tom Izzo’s usually-potent recruiting class is an honor for any player, especially a humble player like Jabari.
What would the starting lineup look like if he committed to Michigan State?
G– Keith Appling: Physical defender that can put up some impressive offensive numbers. Drives the lane better than most guards.
G– Gary Harris: If he stays, he could be the best scorer on the team. Top-10 recruit with great offensive prowess.
F– Branden Dawson: Dynamic athlete that can play above the rim and finish with power.
F– Jabari Parker: No. 2 player in the country coming out of high school. Highly regarded by some as best recruit since LeBron James.
C– Adriean Payne: Most athletic center in recent Spartan history. Can shoot jumpers while pulling down board with the best of them.
This lineup could be the scariest in all of college basketball and would surely bring in more recruits in the years to follow. This right here is a national title favorite type of team. With the athleticism of every player in that rotation, they could put up close to 80 points a night and defend as well.
So, Jabari Parker has a choice to make. Will he go with joining quite possibly one of the best lineups in college basketball at Michigan State next year, or will he go with Duke’s unproven 2013 team that will likely be an underdog.
It will be a tough choice, but I think the Spartans should and will prevail in this long-anticipated recruiting process.