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Top prospect Parker chooses Duke
CHICAGO (AP) - Prized prospect Jabari Parker of Chicago's Simeon Career Academy, one of the most highly touted recruits in years, is headed to Duke.
With a national TV audience watching, he announced his decision at a news conference Thursday at his high school gym.
Parker can’t sign his letter of intent until April 17, but he made his intentions clear with one highly anticipated oral commitment.
Michigan State, Florida, Stanford and Brigham Young also made his top five, but he said it really came down to three schools in the end, with the Gators and Spartans right there with the Blue Devils.
In the end, he chose to play for Mike Krzyzewski for at least a year before making what many believe will ultimately be a jump to the NBA.
“Duke is always going to be a team in the tournament,” he said. “You can’t go wrong at the program and most importantly, the long-term investment. I feel like if I go there, I can get a good degree. I can also stay close to home where it’s easily accessible to my parents, my family. It’s not too far away. Coach K, that’s one of the best coaches ever, and I wanted to be able to experience the things that he has next year.”
Parker said he might play two or three seasons in college. Either way, he vowed to get a degree. He also said he didn’t decide on a school until about 1 p.m. Central, and he apparently kept his parents in the dark until he made his announcement.
His mom, Lola, said Jabari whispered his decision to her and her husband Sonny as they were walking into the gym. A few minutes later, he pulled out a Duke T-shirt, drawing a standing ovation from the crowd packing the bleachers behind the podium.
Parker committed to join a program next season will lose two key frontcourt players _ seniors Mason Plumlee and Ryan Kelly _ from a team that earlier this week rose to No. 1 for the first time since February 2011.
Parker figures to fit right in on a talented group of players that will include Quinn Cook, who’s expected to be in his second year as the starting point guard, and returns pure shooter Andre Dawkins, who’s expected back after redshirting this season.
At 6-foot-8 and with the ability to nail jumpers from just about any spot when he’s not throwing down ferocious dunks, it’s easy to see why just about every major program was interested in him.
As for Parker, his credentials sure are impressive.
He received the Gatorade Boys Basketball Player of the Year award after leading Simeon to its third straight state championship while averaging 19.5 points and 8.9 rebounds as a junior.
His father played six seasons with the Golden State Warriors in the NBA after starring at Chicago’s Farragut Career Academy.
By Tammy Bruce
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