Jabari Parker is what many scouts will say is the far and away #1 player in the class of 2013. After viewing a couple of Parker’s full games on film, it is really hard to argue against such a statement. The first thing that stands out when you watch the 6’8 220 pound small forward play is his patience with the basketball. Parker is never in a rush and uses his high basketball IQ to diagnose defenses and expose mismatches that he exploits to his advantage. Parker’s scoring can come from every level as well. He is a talented ball-handler that can easily drive around bigger defenders, his mid-range game is far above his peers and most highly talented collegiate players, and he is also sound in his low-post game while showing a good feel for defenders defensive positioning and solid footwork. The only weakness that showed on film was his lack of lateral quickness when it came to guarding smaller defenders on the perimeter.
So now the question is, where will Parker play college basketball? Just recently Parker narrowed his long list of suitors down to a list to only five teams. Those five teams are: Michigan State, Duke, Florida, Brigham Young, and Stanford. With this list now exists an unbelievable amount of excitement for those schools and their fan bases. Especially so since Sports Illustrated has been quoted saying Parker is “The best high school basketball player since Lebron James.” So immediately you get people asking ‘is this guy really as good as Lebron.’ The easy answer to this question is no. The easy explanation is that no other human being has ever possessed the combination of extreme athleticism, size, and basketball skill that Lebron possesses. However, there is no mistaking the talent level that Parker has. I project his impact to be along the same level of what you saw with Carmelo Anthony in his one year at Syracuse. For instance if he signs with either MSU, Duke, or Florida- one of those schools goes from Final Four contender to probable National Championship contender over night.
Parker currently attends Simeon High School in Illinois, which is the same school that produced NBA MVP Derrick Rose
Which school would Parker be the best fit at? After reviewing the film I would lean most toward Duke. Duke loves to spread the floor and Coach K can definitely exploit Parker’s dribble drive skills by using offensive sets where Parker can utilize ball screens and use his vision to make sound plays. This is not to say that he wouldn’t fit into Tom Izzo’s physical rebounding/solid defending philosophy at MSU or Billy Donovan’s uptempo approach at Florida. The great thing about Parker is his versatility and his willingness to do the little things to win. Shall he choose either Stanford or BYU it would come as a surprise to many, mainly because those schools are not the blue-blooded teams that scoop up blue-chip recruits with regularity like the aforementioned teams. Regardless of wherever he chooses to play basketball, it will be an interesting sweepstakes to watch unravel.