Simeon’s Jabari Parker giving schools last chance to sway him
BY MICHAEL O’BRIEN email@example.com December 18, 2012 8:58PM
Simeon basketball player Jabari Parker. | Scott Stewart~Sun-Times
Which school do you think Jabari Parker will choose?
When: 3 p.m. Thursday.
Final choices: BYU, Duke, Florida, Michigan State
Updated: February 24, 2013 8:13PM
The decision comes Thursday.
Simeon senior Jabari Parker will announce his college choice at 3 p.m. at Simeon. ESPNU will air the announcement live.
The final five are BYU, Duke, Florida, Michigan State and Stanford. In an interview last week, Parker’s father, Sonny, said he thought his son was down to Duke and Michigan State.
The family has been backpedaling from that remark, saying it was just Sonny’s feeling at the moment. The party line is that it’s still anyone’s game.
Simeon coach Robert Smith is as experienced as anyone when it comes to high-profile recruitments, but he said that Parker’s recruitment has reached a fever pitch, outdoing even Derrick Rose’s announcement.
“I can’t tell you the number of calls and requests we have had for Thursday,” Smith said. “Media from all over the country is coming. I’ve never dealt with anything like this as a coach.”
Smith is ready for it to be over and for the Wolverines to get back to focusing on winning their fourth consecutive Class 4A state championship.
“I know he’s looking forward to moving on and concentrating on being healthy and helping us win a state championship,” Smith said. “I know when it’s over it will be a lot of relief to him, his family and the whole school.”
The Wolverines are off to a rougher start than Smith had hoped. Simeon is 3-1, losing to DeSoto (Texas) on ESPN. The loss dashed the Wolverines’ hopes for a mythical national title and dropped them to No. 2 in the Sun-Times Super 25.
Parker hasn’t fully recovered from a foot injury he suffered in the summer. He’s still rehabbing and trying to get himself into playing shape. Parker played in Simeon’s first three games with mixed results.
“He probably shouldn’t have played at all,” Smith said. “It was just too much. He came to me [Monday] and said he wasn’t himself.”
Parker sat out Monday against Carver and is expected to sit out Wednesday against Hawkins. He’s hoping to return Dec. 27 in the Pontiac Holiday Tournament.
“I’m working out twice a day, and I’ll be back in shape very soon,” Parker said.
It’s unlikely that Parker can give his full attention to the rehab with all the college coaches swirling around him. He’s giving almost all of them a last chance to sway him.
Florida coach Billy Donovan was at the Simeon game Monday and visited Parker’s home that night. According to Smith, Duke had an in-home visit Tuesday night and Michigan State is expected Wednesday night. The Parkers had a phone call with BYU.
There haven’t been many credible sources or even scandalous rumors about Parker’s likely choice, which is rare for a high-level Chicago recruit. That might be because he’s telling the truth — he hasn’t made up his mind.
“I’m not going to put any judgment out there,” Smith said. “At this point, I still think all of them are in the hunt. It might boil down to Thursday morning, what they think is the best fit for them.”
The Duke offer looms large. Three of the city’s best players of all time, Rose, Anthony Davis and Sherron Collins, didn’t receive one. Jon Scheyer, Sean Dockery, Michael Thompson and Corey Maggette are the most recent area players to go to Duke. They also are the only players Duke offered.
Smith can’t remember a player in Chicago turning down Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski.
“No,” Smith said. “Not that I know of. I have never heard of anyone [from Chicago] being offered by Duke and not going.”