Athletic. Superstar. Modest. Winner. Personable. Soft-spoken.
All of these things can be used to describe Jabari Parker and now you can add one more to that list: Duke Blue Devil.
With all of the hype and LeBron James-like selection show, Parker finally made his college choice after months of deliberation. One thing is for certain– Mike Krzyzewski is one happy man.
On the other side of things, Jabari’s No. 2 choice, Michigan State, is in the midst of a bad dream. Tom Izzo put all of his marbles in one basket and that basket was stolen right from underneath his grasp.
The Spartans had Jabari. They were his favorite team since his sophomore year in high school and Parker dreamed of playing for Izzo and the Spartans in East Lansing.
Well, after his official visits and months of talking with each head coach, he had a change of heart.
Parker made his choice today on national television, seeming a bit shy in front of an audience of thousands, maybe even millions.
He’s not one for media coverage and just any exposure at all, an amazing aspect of his personality seeing as he has been tabbed the best recruit since LeBron.
But many people are still asking, did Jabari Parker make the wrong choice?
Sure Duke is the No. 1 team in the country right now, sitting at 10-0 and seemingly in cruise control, but do the Spartans have the brighter future?
Michigan State has one senior on their team– Derrick Nix– and everyone else should be returning for the 2013-14 season, barring an early departure from freshman Gary Harris.
Duke is losing four players, including three of their best players, leaving them with an inexperienced club in 2013.
Although Parker is known for his winning attitude and his ability to put a team on his back, he can’t take a college team to the title by himself. Sure, Duke has a top-15 recruiting class next season with three top-50 recruits, but they are in the same boat as the Chicago-native.
He has yet to play a college game and he will be expected to lead a team to a title.
How did that work out for other superstar freshman? Obviously Kentucky is the exception because they seem to get three or four top-20 recruits each year that are one-and-dones.
Jabari may not be a one-and-done given his personality, but he wants to win and his best chance to do so might have been with the Spartans:
“I may play in college for two or three years. It doesn’t matter to me. I just want the college experience. The most important thing is getting the degree, and I want to go to school.”
According to Parker, the reason he didn’t choose the Spartans was because Branden Dawson, Michigan State’s current small forward, plays the same position as the coveted recruit.
Having spoken to Izzo as much as Parker has, he should know that they would both be starters for the Spartans and the positions would not be an issue. Although Dawson is another top recruit that the Spartans snagged two years ago, he would have no problem sharing the court with Parker.
“But a lot of things went into it like, ‘How will I be used on the floor?’ (Spartans forward) Branden Dawson and I play the same position, and it would be kind of a controversy if me and him were on the same floor and we run into each other. I just wanted to go to a school that was fitting for me.”
If everyone returns next year for Michigan State, they will be a top-5 team and a Final Four favorite. With Jabari they would be national title favorites, hands down.
In order for Duke to be Final Four favorites, they will need to gel as a young team and mature faster than they would have with a plethora of seniors to lead them.
Sure, Michigan State now has to look for another player to fill that lone scholarship that they will have left over because Jabari didn’t commit, but they will still be a Final Four-type team.
Overall, Parker is a respectable kid, and he made the choice that he felt right for him. Don’t be surprised if he has a hard time sticking to his commitment to Duke over the next couple of months, as all recruits do, and second-guessing his choice.
Duke is a great school for him and Coach K will turn this kid into a man. There was no wrong choice in schools if he wanted to turn into a mature respectable man, but if he wanted to win, and win now, he should have gone with the Spartans and Tom “Mr. March” Izzo.