By Joe Henricksen

Jabari Parker down to final five

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So you're saying we have a chance?

That's what the likes of BYU and Stanford are hanging on to with a month to go before the early signing period as Simeon star Jabari Parker has included those two programs in his final five, along with traditional powerhouses Duke, Michigan State and Florida.

While Parker hasn't been on official visits, you could argue the 6-8 superstar is very familiar with both Stanford and BYU. He's made multiple trips out west to visit family and has stopped in and checked out both campuses on at least two occasions.

While Duke and Michigan State have been rumored as the two favorites, the Hoops Report has acknowledged over the past six months that Florida has been a sleeper in the Parker sweepstakes. Coach Billy Donovan has made it this far and, along with the other four finalists, will be getting an official visit from the nation's top player.

"He's going to take all five official visits," says Jabari's father, Sonny Parker. "He will take those five visits and then sit down and evaluate those visits. He wants to meet the players, get a feel for the campus and see just where he's most comfortable."

Sonny Parker has been impressed with how his son has handled the process, particularly the recently conducted in-home visits.

"He's really done most of this on his own," says Sonny. "I thought Jabari did a great job of getting a feel for everything in the in-home visits."

Even with a final five schools picked, Parker, who will try to help lead Simeon to a fourth straight state championship this winter, will not rush things.

"I told him not to hurry, that there is no need to rush this decision," says Sonny Parker. "He's built some relationships and will continue to evaluate each school and take his time with it."

The stretch run for one of the most prized and talked-about prospects in Chicago prep basketball history is on. Forget checking in on open gyms or or unofficial visits or a long list of in-home visits or even a final 10 list, it's down to a manageable and newsworthy final five. And for fun, here is just one oddsmaker's percentages for each of the five remaining schools.

Michigan State ... 35%
Duke ... 30%
Florida ... 25%
Stanford ... 5%
BYU ... 5%

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Why is do you think that Illinois isn't in Jabari's Top 5? Clearly they're on the right track with Groce/Paris, and his Simeon teammates are making the decision to bolster their home state school. If you add Jabari to that mix, you could have a core that could compete for a national championship Jabari's freshman year.

Just once, I'd like to see these guys say, Illinois is among the best basketball states in the country, lets make U of I a national power and win a national championship there.

Either way, we know Jabari is likely a can't miss NBA lottery pick whenever he would choose to leave school. Why not do something really unique, challenging, and special with his other homestate commits and make Illiinois a winner? Duke/Mich St/Florida are great basketball schools, but its kind of like signing with the Yankees or Miami Heat, etc.

If those are the 5 alternatives I would love to see him pick BYU or Stanford. But I just sometimes wonder, even with the coaching change at Illinois, why not stay, take the hard road, and make your home state a winner and become even more of legend?

I don't get it. Any perspective on this Joe?

With all due respect Joe, there is absolutely a viable option for this young man at Illinois. An option that includes starring on the court, enticing one more big name recruit to join him, and though he is likely a short-timer at Illinois, he can begin his education at one of the best schools in the country (with endless business alumni - see recent Trib article on Jacksonville Jaguar owner who is an Illini grad).

I don't know if Jabari and one other big name puts them in a position to win a title with a freshman-heavy roster, but they could compete and be a Top 10 team.

Jabari has talent that stands on its own. Groce's a solid coach and mentor, which is all you need when you have the polish that Jabari already has. Its not like Coach K tranformed the game of Austin Rivers - if anything his stock may have even fallen, be it to a small degree.

My goodness, why is it so hard for people to understand. Jabari Parker going to college for one year. He's not going to jump into a major rebuilding project in a program with no point guard that fits the style and system John Groce wants to play. This was a .500 team last year that lost its best player, a lottery pick in Meyers Leonard. Top two scorers this year will likely be seniors -- Paul and D.J. I'm an Illinois fan, diehard, but at this point in time why would Jabari Parker consider going there for one year? If the Illini were good right now, completely different story.

Peter - I think people do understand he is a college short-timer, its even mentioned in the posts. BYU and Stanford, from a basketball perspective anyways, could also qualify as being in rebuilding phases. The thought seems to be Jabari can be a difference maker, and turn a rebuilding project into an instant contender, though an unlikely top 5 team. I'm with Larry - why sign with a Miami Heat-like team, when you can take the challenging road where success isn't just handed to you on a silver platter. It would probably do more for him in the long run. At some point in his career, maybe when he's drafted high in the lottery by a rebuilding project in the NBA, he won't have an elite group of teammates or system designed for him, with a point guard that can do whatever he needs him to do. I actually think your statement is another clear reason he should consider a school thats not an annual frontrunner in college - he would succeed, learn and develop a lot more, and enter the NBA a better player.

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This page contains a single entry by Joe Henricksen published on October 5, 2012 2:52 PM.

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