Coach: Jabari Parker nears decision

Updated: December 13, 2012, 7:48 PM ET
ESPNChicago.com

Chicago Simeon's Jabari Parker, the No. 2-rated senior in the country, will announce his collegiate plans on Dec. 20, according to his high school coach.

"He just wants to get it over with," Simeon's Robert Smith said. "He wants to focus on the season and trying to win another state championship."

Parker's final list of schools consists of BYU, Duke, Florida, Michigan State and Stanford. He's made official visits to all the schools except Stanford. He made unofficial visits to all of the schools.

Parker will make his decision live on ESPNU at 4 p.m. ET next Thursday.

Parker's father, Sonny Parker, told USA Today he isn't sure which way his son is leaning, but he's guessing it's between Duke and Michigan State.

"He hasn't told me where," Sonny Parker told USA Today. "I didn't ask him. It's kind of hard to say. He's liked all the schools we've visited. He's hard to read sometimes. He keeps things to himself, so I don't put any pressure on him. I think it will probably be between Duke and Michigan State. That's what I'm thinking."

Smith said he also does not know which school Parker will pick.

"To be honest, he hasn't told anyone," Smith said. "He just said Thursday. This is what he wants. I think he's 90 percent sure if he's not 100 percent sure on where he wants to go."

As a junior, Parker was named the ESPNChicago.com Player of the Year, Illinois' Mr. Basketball and the national Gatorade Player of the Year. He averaged 19.5 points, 8.9 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 3.3 blocks and 1.4 steals per game.

The 6-foot-8 Parker was ESPN's No. 1-ranked player until Andrew Wiggins reclassified recently from the Class of 2014 to the Class of 2013.

Parker suffered a fracture in his right foot while playing with Team USA at the FIBA under-17 World Championships in Lithuania in July. He was not expected to play as Simeon opened its quest for a fourth state championship on Saturday, but he played 10 minutes and scored six points and grabbed four rebounds in the season-opening win.

[+] EnlargeJabari Parker
Mark L. Baer/US PresswireJabari Parker's final list of schools consists of BYU, Duke, Florida, Michigan State and Stanford.

Parker recently received recruiting advice from a former Chicago high school star who was one of the top recruits in the nation. Hall of Fame point guard and Chicago native Isiah Thomas said Tuesday he recently talked with Parker.

"'Pick a school that you will be comfortable with the campus,'" Thomas said by phone Tuesday. "'You're going to be in the gym two to three hours a day. The other 21-22 hours you spend on campus. You got to make sure you enjoy the campus more than the gym.'"

Thomas talked to Parker about more than just basketball. It's something Sonny Parker, a former NBA player, used to do with Thomas when Thomas was a youngster in Chicago.

"It's the same (advice) his father would give to me," Thomas said. "Whenever his father would come home from the summer when he was playing with Golden State, he never asked me about my jump shot; he never asked me about my crossover dribble and my between-the-legs dribble. He only asked me about grades, how I was doing in school and if I needed something to eat.

"That's what I try to emphasize to Jabari. Being the leader in basketball and being the leader in the community, kids are looking up to you. You have a responsibility for the kids to see you in their future in the right way. It's not just about basketball. It's about making an impact through education and basketball."

ESPNChicago.com's Scott Powers contributed to this story.