Basketball Recruiting 2013: Jabari Parker Should Pick Michigan State over Duke
Jabari Parker is one of the best college basketball recruits in the country, and his decision could come down to the Duke Blue Devils and Michigan State Spartans.
These two schools have been rumored by the Detroit Free Press to be the front-runners for Parker's services, and if it comes down to these two, he should pick Tom Izzo's Spartans.
Mike Krzyzewski and Izzo both have a lot to offer the kid, but the best choice for Parker is to don the green and white of MSU.
Tom Izzo Has Been Hounding Him
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Tom Izzo isn't alone in his pursuit of Parker, but he has been working as hard as any coach in the nation to land him.
Not only did Parker visit East Lansing, but it was among his first stops.
Izzo has been relentless in his communications with the budding superstar, and the effort shown has to weigh upon the mind of Parker.
This is something that is shared between Duke and Michigan State, but it is an important factor nonetheless.
A Tradition of Winning
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Another certain something that both Duke and Michigan State share is a tradition of excellence. Both schools are among the winningest in history, and both Mike Krzyzewski and Tom Izzo are among the game's greatest coaches.
To illustrate just how well Sparty has been doing, however, you must look at Izzo.
With six Final Fours in the last 13 seasons, MSU has constantly been among the nation's top teams in March.
Parker will surely want to enjoy a bit of success in the NCAA tournament while in school, and what better program to do that with than the one that has done so well in recent history?
Even Magic Johnson talked about Izzo, saying “Tom Izzo does his best job every year during the NCAA tournament.”
Proximity to Home
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Finally something unique to Michigan State and East Lasing: The school allows Parker to stay close to his Chicago-area home.
Parker is a hometown kid, but by playing at Duke, Florida, BYU or Stanford, he would be very far from the place he calls home.
According to Google Maps, the 222-mile journey from Chicago to East Lansing is less than a four-hour drive, whereas Chicago to Durham, NC would take nearly 14 hours on a trip of almost 800 miles.
He Will Be Paired with Great Big Men
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Michigan State has its frontcourt ready for the next two or three seasons, thanks to Tom Izzo's 2012 recruiting class, which included three big men ranked in the ESPNU Top 100.
Denzel Valentine, Kenny Kaminski and Matt Costello give the team a formidable frontline, and the team will also return center Adreian Payne, who will be a senior next year.
Duke won't have this healthy supply of big men, which would ultimately hurt Parker.
With Mason Plumlee and Ryan Kelly graduating this year, the team will rely heavily on a largely unproven duo of Josh Hairston and Marshall Plumlee to play inside.
If Parker were to join the Blue Devils he would be forced to rebound and play inside much more often than he would with the Spartans, which would not allow him to flourish in his typical role as a wing player.
Keith Appling Will Likely Return
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Keith Appling is emerging as one of the nation's best point guards, and he will likely be back next season when Parker arrives.
The 6'1" guard is averaging 16.8 points, 4.2 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game this season.
He has been playing incredibly well for the Spartans, and next year he will be a senior when paired with Parker.
Appling isn't big enough to enter the NBA early, and I would be surprised if he chose to forgo his senior season.
If he comes back, that factor must weigh heavily on the mind of Parker.