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Thursday, June 30

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Basketball Thu Dec 13 2012

Jabari Parker's Decision Coming Next Week

Thumbnail image for jabarisimeon.jpgIt's difficult to say precisely when the Jabari Parker recruitment ceased to be The Most Interesting Story in Chicago. For some it might have been when the Simeon senior eliminated DePaul from consideration. It could have been when Huntington Prep's Andrew Wiggins reclassified from 2014 to 2013, bumping Parker down from number one (or in the rare case, two) on everybody's lists. His foot injury in July that held him out of action -- and left him looking very sluggish in his return -- also may have dampened the enthusiasm. Or maybe it's just his low-key nature: no transparent and lame publicity stunts (Hey, Derrick Rose might go to Illinois!) or talk of canceled checks from college coaches.

So Parker's recruitment will end next week, according to Simeon coach Robert Smith. He's down to a final five of Brigham Young, Florida, Michigan State, Duke, and Stanford. Though his father Sonny hinted it could be down to the blue bloods from Duke and MSU, some think Florida's very much in consideration. I think he'll pick Duke, but, you know, prove me wrong, Jabari!

Wherever Parker spends his one or two years in college, his legacy in the city will be complicated. He's had more hype than any Chicago high school player before him -- and has the hardware to back it up: he'll have a chance in March to take Simeon to its fourth state title in as many years (in a diluted four-class system, of course), led USA Basketball to FIBA gold last summer, and was the first junior to ever win the Illinois Mr. Basketball Award.

Still, Parker could be remembered as the third best player from the city between 2010 and 2013 -- Anthony Davis and possibly Jahlil Okafor far ahead -- especially if his foot causes further problems. Parker never had elite explosiveness or quickness, and a serious foot injury at a key stage of development could torpedo his career.

And if he does heal, what kind of ceiling might he have? Who's a good comp? Who's a player with his size, skills, intelligence, but just medium-grade athleticism? Shane Battier, probably. Might we look back at this whole time and be confused about why we went gaga for Battier II? Probably.

Photo by Mark L. Baer/US Presswire

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