Jabari Parker: Top Recruit Should Pick Michigan State over Duke, Florida

Mike ShiekmanFeatured ColumnistDecember 18, 2012

Jan 16, 2012; Springfield, MA, USA; Chicago Simeon Wolverines forward Jabari Parker (22) blocks out against Findlay Pilots forward Brandon Ashley (back) during the first half at Blake Arena.  Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports
Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

Jabari Parker is a Midwestern kid, tried and true. He should represent his region and win a national championship for the Big Ten by attending Michigan State.

The five-star recruit would be a perfect fit on any teams’ roster, as he possesses the size and strength of an NBA small forward. To that point, he’s likely to be a one-and-done player wherever he decides to go.

For these one-year college players, their goals are simple: Win a national title and enter the NBA draft.

After watching Kentucky win the championship with Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist playing prominent roles, these top recruits are dead-set on choosing the right fit.

If his father is the best source to see where Parker is leaning, the Spartans are in his top two, along with another perennial contender (via Jim Halley of USA Today):

He hasn't told me where. I didn't ask him. It's kind of hard to say. He's liked all the schools we've visited. He's hard to read sometimes. He keeps things to himself, so I don't put any pressure on him. I think it will probably be between Duke and Michigan State. That's what I'm thinking.

If he joins the Spartans, Parker gets the best of both worlds. He’ll have the legendary coach, and the spotlight (as the star of a loaded roster).

We all know about Tom Izzo’s numerous accolades. 400 career wins. Six Final Fours and a national championship. 15 straight NCAA tournament appearances.

Put Izzo’s recent resume against any other coach in the country and it will match up. No need to have faith in Sparty; in Izzo, we trust.

Don’t discount Izzo’s NBA pedigree in player development either. The face of the Spartans has sent Zach Randolph, Jason Richardson and Draymond Green to the league, among others.

In comparison, Duke can claim Elton Brand, Shane Battier and not many more.

Keith Appling, Gary Harris and Co. all figure to be back for the Spartans next season, with a wide-open spot at small forward for the taking. Michigan State's roster is loaded with talent that will contend for a national title with or without Parker.

Not to mention, he’ll learn how to play defense on the highest-level in the smash-mouth Big Ten.

No other conference in the country can use the word “smash-mouth” to describe their basketball, but it has earned it with Michigan St., Wisconsin, Indiana and others calling it home.

Michigan St. has always been regarded as the blue-collar team in the annual NCAA title conversation.

If Jabari Parker wants to work toward an NCAA championship, toward a No. 1 selection and toward being the next legend of the Midwest, then blue-collar Michigan State is the place to do it.