College Basketball Recruiting: 3 Sleeper Schools Who May Nab Jabari Parker
Given that Chicago basketball sensation Jabari Parker is the most coveted high school recruit since LeBron James (at least according to Sports Illustrated), it’s no surprise that many of college basketball’s blue bloods are hot in pursuit of his services.
North Carolina. Duke. Kentucky. Michigan State.
You name them, they’re after Parker. But what are the chances an unexpected wild card school shocks everyone and ends up getting Parker?
If that were to happen, I have a hunch it’s going to be one of these three institutions.
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It’s no secret that the DePaul Blue Demons have had very little success on the basketball court since moving to the Big East Conference several years ago.
So why would a player of Jabari Parker’s talents decide to play for such a mediocre program? A big reason: location.
Parker may surprise everyone and opt to play college basketball without ever having to leave his hometown of Chicago. And who would blame Parker if he chose to go that route?
It could potentially be a very ideal situation for this incredibly talented young man. Parker could play in front of plenty of friends, family and adoring local fans at the Allstate Arena.
He could lead the resurrection of the once-proud DePaul program and have a home-cooked meal every night. It’s a path fellow Chicago baller and former NBA All-Star Mark Aguirre took when he played for DePaul back in the late 1970s.
While playing for the hometown fans at DePaul, Aguirre was a two-time All American and led the Blue Demons to the Final Four in 1979.
On the contrary, who would blame Parker if he chose to spurn DePaul? Since joining the Big East in 2005, it’s been rough sledding for the Blue Demons. DePaul has gone 5-49 in conference play in the past three seasons.
If Parker wants to win and win big while in college, then DePaul may not be his best option. But if Parker chooses Oliver Purnell’s team, he could lead a basketball renaissance in the Windy City.
And if Purnell does snag Parker, it will be the biggest victory DePaul basketball has had in quite some time.
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It’s well-known by now that high school basketball phenom Jabari Parker is a devout Mormon.
This is why Brigham Young University has gone from long shot to legitimate contender when it comes to where Parker will play his college ball. Sure, BYU is better known for its accomplishments on the gridiron than the hardwood.
Fan favorites Jimmer Fredette and Danny Ainge both won National Player of the Year honors during their time in Provo. But the BYU program has never been to the Final Four.
With that said, BYU is the premier university in the country for exceptional Mormon athletes, hence Parker’s interest in playing for Cougars coach Dave Rose. And in case you don’t think BYU is a real player here, consider that Parker is contemplating giving up basketball for two years to partake in his Mormon mission, typical for young men and women who practice the religion.
That’s a clear indication of how devoted Parker is to Mormonism and how seriously BYU must be taken when it comes to landing Parker. It also helps that Rose is putting together an impressive 2013 recruiting class.
It’s a class that already features two four-star recruits, including Nick Emery, younger brother of former BYU guard Jackson. Parker may be impressed with the talent flocking to Provo and decide to join in on the fun.
If that happens, the Cougars could win tons of games in the West Coast Conference—and beyond.
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Former Duke star player and assistant coach Johnny Dawkins is trying to turn Stanford into a powerful program much like his mentor Mike Krzyzewski has done during his time in Durham.
Landing Jabari Parker would be a major step towards those efforts for Dawkins and Stanford. This past August, Parker made an unofficial visit to the Stanford campus. This was Parker’s second visit to Palo Alto in the past two years.
What does this mean regarding where Stanford stands in terms of nabbing Parker? It’s tough to tell at this point.
Parker will likely be making tons of official and unofficial campus visits to all the schools on his list before eventually making his final decision. But Dawkins has to be encouraged that Parker enjoyed his latest visit to central California.
Ironically, Dawkins is hoping that Parker signing on with Stanford jump-starts the Cardinal program the same way Duke got the ball rolling when Dawkins was Krzyzewski’s first major Blue Devil commit back in 1983.
Although Stanford has yet to reach the NCAA Tournament in Dawkins’ first four years as its head coach, the program is on track to return to its winning ways of the past. This most recent season, the Cardinal won the NIT Championship for the second time in school history when they defeated Minnesota in the title game at Madison Square Garden this past March.
While the NIT Tournament surely doesn’t hold the prestige it once did, the championship nevertheless gives Dawkins and his team a generous amount of momentum heading into the upcoming season.
And if Parker ends up in Palo Alto, Stanford could very well become Duke West in terms of successful college basketball programs.