“No matter what school you choose tomorrow, me and you will always have a relationship.”
Those were the last words Michigan State Spartans head coach Tom Izzo had for highly-recruited high school star Jabari Parker. Coach Izzo flew to Texas to watch Parker and his high school team Simeon Career Academy in action one last time before Parker’s choice between five schools is announced at 4:00 p.m. on Thursday.
Izzo was the last college coach to visit Parker and likely left a lasting impact with his words. Parker and Izzo were joined by Parker’s parents and Michigan State assistant coach Dwayne Stevens. The talks are rumored to have centered more around personal and off-court relationships rather than college basketball. Izzo was one of several coaches who followed Parker around the country watching games and holding meeting trying to get Parker to come play college basketball for him. Thursday will show that Izzo’s perseverance paid off.
Michigan State recruited Parker hard and they could use him this season and he could decide to go to Michigan State as he would be a starter next year. The Spartans would jump into the top 10 next year with a commitment from Parker as senior Derrick Nix is the only Spartan player that will definitely be done at the end of the season. Both leading scorers Keith Appling (15.0 ppg) and Gary Harris (12.6 ppg) should return and lead the team.
The ability to start his freshman season under legendary Coach Izzo could persuade Parker to attend Michigan State. Other than DePaul, Michigan State also offers Parker the opportunity to stay close to home. A choice to attend Duke would be great for Parker, but he would likely see a higher level of competition for a starting position in his freshman season.
Parker has been one of the top high school players over the last four years. As a junior, he graced the cover of Sports Illustrated with comparisons to Lebron James. Parker is also often compared to Derrick Rose, who also attended Simeon Career Academy. Jabari was named the Gatorade Player of the Year in 2011. Jabari also won the Illinois Mr. Basketball Award as a junior, becoming the first non-senior winner. Parker’s high school changed their no freshman rule to ensure that he could play from the start, but Rose had to play on the junior varsity team for a season when he attended Simeon.
Here is a look at high school statistics for Parker:
- Freshman: 9.3 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists
- Sophomore: 15.3 points, 5.9 rebounds
- Junior: 19.5 points, 8.9 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 3.3 blocks, 1.4 steals
Parker’s father, Sonny, played six seasons in the NBA. The Golden State Warriors drafted Sonny in the first round, after a successful career at Texas A & M. Both of Jabari’s brothers played college basketball as well.
Jabari began receiving scholarship offers as a freshman and is now considered one of the top two recruits in the Class of 2013. Parker’s list of possible schools is down to five. Duke and Michigan State are the front runners according to analysts, and were also the first two finalists named by Parker. The other three schools Parker is choosing from include BYU, Florida and Stanford. Prior schools in the mix also included Kansas, Kentucky, Georgetown, Depaul, North Carolina and Connecticut.