Jabari announces he will not become a Cougar; headed to Duke

2012-12-20T14:15:00Z 2013-11-06T21:45:29Z Jabari announces he will not become a Cougar; headed to DukeJason Franchuk - Daily Herald Daily Herald
December 20, 2012 2:15 pm  • 

Jabari Parker is still getting over a broken foot suffered this summer that limited his start to the high school basketball season.

Still it's better than a broken heart, which is what's left in Provo after the highly touted recruit spurned BYU in favor of Duke as the 17-year-old announced his decision on national television Thursday afternoon from his high school in Chicago.

Parker had the Cougars in his top five in very large part because he happens to be LDS, raised that way with a pro hoops-playing father that grew familiar with the faith because of a Polynesian wife that was raised in Utah.

Parker, who lives on Chicago's "South side," still can't sign a binding letter of intent until the spring signing period. It remains to be seen how aggressively BYU coaches continue to seek Parker's change of heart, which wouldn't exactly be uncommon in the recruiting world.

Various pundits, along with those close to Parker, were never sure which way he was going to go until he sported a Duke T-shirt.

Because Parker hasn't signed an NCAA-mandated letter of intent, college coaches are still unable to talk about him publicly.

He's been a target for more than two years as coaches have traveled the country to watch him play, along with the likes of some of the biggest names in college basketball.

Michigan State's Tom Izzo, Duke's Mike Krzyzewski and Rose recently attended a Parker-played game with Simeon High traveling to the Dallas area. Rose's Cougars held an afternoon practice that same day, in part because of final-exams week, and he flew privately along with second-year assistant coach Mark Pope -- a former national champion center at Kentucky, and NBA veteran -- to represent the program that made Parker's final five.

The phenom had his list whittled to Duke, MSU, BYU, Florida and Stanford — many would argue in that order. His father wore a blue sweater and shirt, which seemed to hint that it was down to the Cougars and Duke Blue Devils.

According to the Chicago Tribune, MSU's coaches were the last ones to see Parker before the announcement. Simeon had a game canceled because the other team had "disciplinary issues," Simeon's coach said, but Parker was not going to play in it anyway because of his ongoing recovery from a broken foot. That allowed Izzo and a staff member to meet with Parker, who they've known for several years and -- based on their analyzed recruiting methods this winter -- made him a top priority.

He was for BYU, too, however unlikely it seemed that he might spurn a couple of the country's biggest players for a school that has been to just two Sweet 16 appearances in the last 30 years.

But Parker is a different sort, which lent hope. It comes from his upbringing. Dad, Sonny, was a first-round draft pick of Golden State in 1976. He met his future wife, Lola, while she was a student at BYU.

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