Jabari Parker is the top rated recruit for the Class of 2013. According to ESPN, he boasts a list of scholarship offers that range from top programs such as Duke, UNC, Michigan State, Kentucky and Georgetown. However, the most intriguing scholarship offer has to be from the Brigham Young Cougars.
Parker, a 6’8” small forward out of Chicago, has amazing upside. He has been called “the best high school basketball player since LeBron James" by Sports Illustrated. His skill set has very few weaknesses. ESPN’s scouting report on Parker reports that he has the ability to slash, score in the lane, and shoot from around the basket and behind the arc. He has a large frame and is incredibly athletic. Scout.com reports improvement in his already strong skill set over the past few years; including improvements in athleticism and the development of a post up game. With this skill set and strong work ethic, it is easy to see why Parker would start and contribute immediately for whichever team he decides to commit to.
Jabari Parker, a devout Mormon, continues to consider BYU as a potential landing spot for next season. Parker visited BYU in August. He toured team facilities and met with head coach Dave Rose. The visit must have went well, as Parker continues to list BYU as one of his top options. In fact, just a few days ago, Parker invited Rose to visit his house; as reported by ESPN writer Scott Powers.
BYU would be the best fit for Parker as the school that would be the most understanding of his faith. After Parker’s freshman season, he will turn 19. This is the age that Mormon men decide on whether or not to pursue a two-year mission to teach others about the Mormon faith. For Parker, this decision will be in opposition to another important decision; whether or not to enter the NBA draft. If Parker were to go on a two-year mission, he would need to play at least one more season of collegiate basketball to prove to NBA scouts that his skills and conditioning were still top notch. If any school has the framework to re-integrate players back into athletics after a mission, it is BYU. Tyler Haws, a freshman standout for BYU, has recently returned from his two year mission. Coach Dave Rose has Haws working out and getting back into classes so that he will be physically ready and academically eligible for the coming season. As is evidenced by the return of Tyler Haws, BYU is the best fit to return Parker from a mission and prepare him for the NBA because they have the framework to do so already.
A BYU team with Jabari Parker would be absolutely loaded. Parker would join a 2013 class that already boasts two ESPN Top 100 recruits; Nick Emery, a 6’2” point guard, and Eric Mika, a 6’9” center. If Parker were to join this recruiting class, BYU would have an exciting trio of talented freshmen arriving in Provo. These three different positioned recruits would join current sophomores Matt Carlino and Nate Austin. These three Cougars had great debut seasons a year ago, and many expect exceptional things from them moving forward. With the NBA-ready Jabari Parker leading this core group of young, explosive talent, BYU would not only be considered the favorite to win the WCC, they would have to be considered a Top 10 team.
BYU is coming off a disappointing season by their standards. In their first season in the West Coast Conference, BYU finished with a record of 26-9. They placed third in the WCC behind St. Mary’s and Gonzaga. Despite a sub-standard record, BYU should be very excited for the future. Simply being on the radar for a talent as rare as Jabari Parker speaks to BYU’s allure to top prospects and Dave Rose’s ability to recruit the country’s top players. If BYU manages to secure Parker's services for the 2013-2014 season, they could expect great things in the future.