Last weekend the second-rated player in the 2013 recruiting class, Jabari Parker, made his official visit to Brigham Young. BYU is one of five schools that the highly touted Parker is considering, the others being Michigan State, Duke, Florida and Stanford.
BYU is the only school that is not part of one of the six BCS conferences, as they now participate in the West Coast Conference along with traditional powers Gonzaga and Saint Mary's. While Parker is likely to be a one-and-done player, his recruitment will continue to be one of the hottest items in college basketball until he commits in the next month or two.
Parker, who was ranked first until Andrew Wiggins reclassified to graduate in 2013, hails from Simeon Career Academy in Chicago, where he will try to win a fourth straight IHSA title this season. Simeon is the same high school that produced stars such as Deon Thomas, Nick Anderson, Bobby Simmons, Benji Wilson and Derrick Rose.
Of all the players mentioned above, none were members of the varsity squad at Simeon as freshmen. However, when Parker made his way to Simeon, head coach Robert Smith changed the tradition by allowing Parker to suit up for the varsity team.
BYU, which is located in Provo, Utah, is owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the same church that Parker belongs to. Parker has expressed the importance that his faith plays in his life, which he demonstrated when he chose BYU over other great basketball programs, such as Kentucky, when he narrowed his list from 10 to five.
For as catchy as the song "Gangnam Style" has been over the past few months, no college basketball fan should go without hearing this parody version that BYU created, at least for entertainment's sake. While I still believe Duke or Michigan State are the most likely destinations for Parker, this video brings up some good points.
Jimmer Fredette was a star at BYU just two years ago; in fact, he won the National Player of the Year award. While Fredette may not be having the success in the NBA that some foresaw, that wouldn't be the case if Parker decides to attend BYU before taking off for the NBA.
The recent success of BYU's program cannot be ignored. In 2011-12, the team went 26-9, losing to Marquette in the NCAA second round. In Fredette's senior season, the Cougars compiled a 32-5 record before bowing out to Florida in overtime of a sweet sixteen matchup. In the four seasons prior to that, the team went 30-6, 25-8, 27-8 and 25-9, respectively.
The Cougars currently have four seniors on their roster and have five players committed to play for next year's squad, including point guard Jordan Chatman. Redshirt freshman Tyler Haws is averaging an impressive 23.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.2 steals in 34.2 minutes per contest.
Matt Carlino, who averaged 12.2 points and 4.6 assists as a freshman, has gotten off to a slow start to his sophomore campaign, averaging 5.3 points and 5.2 assists. A backcourt of Carlino and Haws, with Parker slotted at the small forward position, would make BYU an instant threat to play with anyone.
The 6'8", 220-pound 17-year-old from Chicago has a big decision on his hands, and if nothing else, BYU certainly showed how much they want Jabari to come to Provo. Whether or not that happens is yet to be seen, but I'm certainly pulling for Parker to play for Dave Rose and the Cougars starting next November.
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