Friday, June 3, 2011
Parker taking his time with recruiting
By Scott Powers
Jabari Parker lost 10 pounds and grew an inch since he led Simeon to its second consecutive state championship in March. He's now 6-8 and 220 pounds.
More and more high school basketball players may be committing as underclassmen, but Simeon sophomore forward Jabari Parker -- ESPNU's No. 2 player in the Class of 2013 -- has no plans of following suit.
Although every top program has offered him and would like him to end his recruitment today, Parker and his family have designed a multi-year strategy that will lead him to committing and signing to a college when he's a senior.
"When he commits, that's when he's going to sign," Parker's father Sonny said on Friday. "We want to go through the process. We're taking our time. We'll take some unofficial visits beginning in September. We'll take his five official visits.
"Then, we're going to have home visits. They may have a good interview on their court, but we want to interview them on our court."
Parker's family has set up strict guidelines. Parker's recruiting circle is only his parents and Simeon coach Robert Smith. Coaches can contact any of the three, but they cannot call Parker directly.
"He's still only 16," Sonny said. "We don't want that pressure to be on him."
There had been recent reports that Parker had released a top-five list, but Sonny said his son is still wide open. There are nearly a dozen schools which have an equal chance at receiving a commitment from Parker at this point.
DePaul, Duke, Georgetown, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan State, North Carolina, Ohio State and Washington were among the schools Sonny named. He also mentioned Parker considering an unofficial visit to Texas A&M, which is where Sonny starred, and that newly named NC State coach Mark Gottfried had also recently contacted him.
"There's no particular order," Sonny said. "I asked him if he had a top five, and he said, ‘Dad, wherever I'm going to get an opportunity to play.' Let's put it this way, he's an elite player, and he's going to go to an elite school. Whatever school he goes to, I know he wants to win a national championship."
An advantage to waiting to commit is Parker can monitor the ever-changing college coaching landscape over a few years. Fifty-four college jobs changed hands this offseason.
"We're going to ask, ‘How many years you got on your contract? What's your security there?'" Sonny said. "Certain coaches we know they're going to be there for a while. Some coaches may get fired. Some coaches may do well and may look at other opportunities. That's why we're taking our time. We're in no rush."
Parker will concentrate on his game this summer. He plans to train with Tim Grover at ATTACK Athletics. He'll also train with Team USA's under-16 team in Colorado and play in FIBA's U16 championship in Mexico. He'll attend Kevin Durant's and LeBron James' skills academies, play in a variety of club events with the Illinois Fire in July, play in an adidas Nation's event and close out the summer with an iHoops event in San Diego in August.
Parker has trimmed about 10 pounds and grown an inch since he led Simeon to its second consecutive state championship in March. He's now 6-8 and 220 pounds.
"He's very explosive now," Sonny said. "He probably averages 4-5 dunks a game in the halfcourt. He's improved his mid-range shot, and he's quicker and faster."