BYU deserves credit for remaining in the Jabari Parker sweepstakes for as long as it did. Considering all of the high-profile programs the Cougars were going up against, they could have been eliminated a long time ago, but they held tough until the end.
Parker announced his commitment to Duke on Dec. 20, according to the Detroit Free Press' Joe Rexrode:
Jabari Parker picks Duke.— Joe Rexrode (@joerexrode) December 20, 2012
Jabari Parker commits to Duke twitter.com/BleacherReport…— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 20, 2012
Although Parker, who is 247 Sports' No. 5 overall recruit in the 2013 class, didn't choose the Cougars, just the fact he kept them in the running for so long is a positive sign for the growing program. It is another sign of progress that has been made in recent seasons.
That said, the 5-star recruit would have provided a major boost to the Cougars. He is one of the most complete prospects in the country. At 6'8'', he has illustrated tremendous versatility on both ends of the court and is going to pack the stat sheet at the next level.
Parker would have also provided BYU with star power the program hasn't seen since Jimmer Fredette, who captivated the college basketball world a few seasons ago. Players like Fredette and Parker are vital to getting exposure for the program.
While it would have been a coup of gigantic proportions if BYU would have landed Parker, there's already reason for optimism about the 2013 class. The Cougars, who are 8-3 this season with a senior-laden roster, already have five commitments.
According to 247 Sports, the talented group is led by 4-star recruit Eric Mika. Mika, a 6'9" center, is joined by a talented group of 3-star prospects, including Nick Emery, Braiden Shaw, Jakob Hartsock and Luke Worthington.
While none of those players are on the same level as Parker, as a whole they represent a solid recruiting class for the Cougars. Getting Parker would have taken the class up a couple notches, but they will survive without him.
Moving forward, head coach Dave Rose will likely have to target a small forward to fill the void Parker would have taken. That is easier said than done, of course, but the class he has already compiled suggests the longtime coach can find a good fit.
BYU fans should have known the Cougars were a long shot throughout the process, which makes Parker's decision easier to take. Still, there is plenty to get excited about moving forward.