Dick Harmon: History says highly prized recruit Jabari Parker will stay near Chicago and go to Michigan State
When it came time for Glenn “Doc” Rivers (Proviso East), to sign, he chose to stay right at home and played at Marquette. This was the same decision made by Dwyane Wade, who played high school ball at Harold Richards in Oak Lawn.
Keeping it right at home was the college decision of DePaul superstars Terry Cummings (Carver), Mark Aguirre (George Westinghouse College Prep) and Quentin Richardson.
Isiah Thomas decided to leave St. Joseph’s of Westchester, and he took his considerable talents to the University of Indiana, a breezy drive down the freeway from Chicago.
Most recently, when Anthony Davis from Perspectives Charter School in Chicago decided to do a one-and-done before going to the NBA, he chose Kentucky, an SEC team.
Of course, there have been hundreds of talented players from Chicago that have ended up at schools from Wyoming to New Mexico, the Pac-12 and Big 12. But for the purposes of this commentary, we’re talking the elite of the elite.
Parker and 6-foot-10 Jahlil Okafor (Whitney Young Magnet High), a 2014 recruit, are undergoing extensive scrutiny in Chicago. Two of Parker’s teammates, Kendrick Nunn and Jaylon Tate, have chosen to play for the University of Illinois. This is where Marcus Liberty from Crane High School and King College prep signed before his career as a Nugget and Piston in the NBA.
It seems, in Chicago, the very best of the best don’t stray too far from home. There is a culture there that keeps them hooked up with coaches, trainers, friends, family and familiar surroundings. It’s kind of a comfort zone.
While any superstar can find his way to an All-America list or an NBA career from just about anywhere in this day and age, the Chicago scene remains a kind of predictable machinery.
So, if you take the cream of the crop from Chicago, the Windy City’s super elite, the legends of the game, the tea leaves say they will stay close to home, not go west, and stay out of the ACC.
Is it written in stone? Absolutely not.
But it is History 101 of Chicago basketball. These guys, influenced by a local culture, stay in Big Ten and Big East territory.
Is this a prediction? No. Just a fact.
Odds are, Parker will go to Michigan State.
Dick Harmon, Deseret News sports columnist, can be found on Twitter as Harmonwrites and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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