Top recruit Jabari Parker chooses Duke

Staff writerDecember 20, 2012 

Parkers Promise Basketball

In this photo taken in Summit, Ill., Friday, March 9, 2012, Simeon Career Academy's Jabari Parker drives to the basket past a Marist High School player during a Illinois state sectional championship game. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)


Jabari Parker is coming to Duke.

The No. 2 recruit of the class of 2013 ended months of speculation when he announced he will sign the Blue Devils Thursday afternoon. Parker made his decision live from his Chicago high school, Simeon Career Academy, on ESPNU.

Parker’s commitment was a major win for Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski, who has had success landing his top recruiting targets in recent years. Kyrie Irving was the No. 3 recruit in the Class of 2010 and Austin Rivers was also ranked third by ESPN in the class of 2011. Both were in Durham for one year before becoming first round draft picks.

Parker, a 6-foot-8 small forward, chose Duke over Michigan State, Florida, Stanford and BYU. The Spartans’ Tom Izzo had perused Parker aggressively and had the final in-home visit with him Wednesday night while Duke played Cornell. Krzyzewski most recently sat down with Parker Tuesday. Parker has been Duke’s top target in this class since the conclusion his freshman year.

Both Izzo and Krzyzewski (and BYU’s Dave Rose) were in Texas last week to watch Parker play. Parker, who was inactive for most of the summer and fall after breaking his foot, struggled to find any offensive rhythm and finished with just five points as No. 1-ranked Simeon lost. But a healthy Parker has drawn comparisons to LeBron James. A Sports Illustrated cover in May touted Parker as the best high school player since James.

As a junior, Parker was named the national Gatorade Player of the Year and Illinois’ Mr. Basketball, averaging averaged 19.5 points, 8.9 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 3.3 blocks and 1.4 steals per game for Simeon Career Academy.

Parker is the third member of Duke’s 2012 recruiting class, joining top-50 recruits Matt Jones and Semi Ojeleye. Prior to Parker’s commitment, ESPN had Duke’s recruiting class ranked 15th in the country, behind both N.C. State (9) and North Carolina (5). That will surely rise now.

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