College basketball fans, enjoy Jabari Parker while you can.
Parker is guaranteed to make someone, somewhere angry with his decision on Thursday. He can’t play for BYU, Duke, Florida, Michigan State and Stanford. There can only be one—and that one fanbase will instantly fall in love with him, while the other four troll his Twitter account and/or root against him for the remainder of his college career.
Prior to his decision, Jason Jordan of USA Today tweeted this prediction as to where Parker will land:
My prediction on Jabari Parker? Come 4:15 I think all non-Duke fans will be giving this Silky Johnson speech. VID: youtube.com/watch?v=1N5p8I…— Jason Jordan (@JayJayUSATODAY) December 20, 2012
Parker is too talented not to succeed, so fans might as well put aside the Haterade and support him. An even greater reason why they should enjoy his stay is because Parker’s career will likely only last one year. His time at the collegiate level is expected to go by in the blink of an eye, so fans should embrace him whether he spurned their school or not.
He isn’t a run-of-the-mill 5-star basketball recruit. There are 5-star basketball recruits in every class. There are No. 1-ranked basketball recruits in every class (Parker is actually ranked No. 2 by ESPN and No. 3 by Rivals, but I digress).
This past May, Sports Illustrated labeled him “the best high school basketball player since LeBron James.”
That’s kind of a big deal.
College basketball missed James, who went straight from St. Vincent-St. Mary to the NBA. It won’t miss Parker, however, and fans should consider that a blessing.
Only less than a month ago did he finally dispel rumors that he would go on a two-year Mormon mission rather than play college ball before going pro.
College basketball fans avoided that downer. An even greater downer would be dedicating the entire 2013-14 NCAA campaign to rooting against a player who possesses the potential to be the greatest since Len Bias.
Embrace Parker, because maybe—just maybe—he outshines Andrew Wiggins and Julius Randle to the point that there won’t be a college basketball player who is worthy of the label, “the best high school basketball player since Jabari Parker,” for years.
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.