CHICAGO — Jabari Parker’s long and much-publicized recruitment all but came to an end Thursday at Simeon Career Academy. Surrounded by family and throngs of media — both local and national — the nation’s No. 2-ranked basketball recruit announced his intent to sign with Duke.
"I decided I wanted to play for someone I admired, someone that could help me reach my basketball goals and my long-term goals," Parker told Sports Illustrated about his decision. "I was looking for someone I could look up to, someone that could teach me the game, as well as what's most important in life."
Parker, who is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, captured national attention throughout his career and was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Weeks later he was interviewed by Katie Couric and featured in an interview on Good Morning America.
Parker was named as the Gatorade Player of the Year in 2011 and was named as the USA Basketball player of the year, succeeding 2010 player of the year and NBA All-Star Kevin Durant. He helped lead Simeon to its third-straight 4A state title and a 33-1 record last season.
Parker has drawn comparisons to NBA star LeBron James during his high school career along with other top athletes such as Carmelo Anthony and Paul Pierce. The 6-foot-8 forward made numerous unofficial visits throughout the process and made trips out to BYU at least five times over the past two years.
Over the past month Parker took official visits to each of the five schools and received in-home visits from all five coaching staffs.
Parker kept his commit decision quiet up until his public commit, which was covered live by ESPNU. Every school in the nation sought his services, but Parker narrowed his choices to five schools (Duke, Michigan State, BYU, Florida and Stanford) late in the process before ultimately committing to Duke.