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Utah Jazz's one-and-dones offer free advice to Jabari Parker

Published: Monday, Dec. 17 2012 6:45 a.m. MST

Utah's Derrick Favors drives to the basket as the Utah Jazz and the Memphis Grizzlies play Saturday, Dec., 15, 2012, at Energy Solutions arena. Jazz lost 99-86. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News) Utah's Derrick Favors drives to the basket as the Utah Jazz and the Memphis Grizzlies play Saturday, Dec., 15, 2012, at Energy Solutions arena. Jazz lost 99-86. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Jabari Parker hasn't asked Derrick Favors or Marvin Williams where he should attend college.

Both Utah Jazz players have experience with the situation Parker is in — having been one-and-done college guys themselves — but they aren't about to tell the Chicago high school player where he should go next year, either.

Georgia Tech and North Carolina, their respective colleges, aren't on Parker's final five list, so ESPN's No. 2 college recruit might not give much credence to their preferred choices anyway.

That's good news for BYU, Duke, Florida, Michigan State and Stanford, who remain in the running to be chosen by the talented 6-foot-8 forward.

That decision will be announced by Parker at a press conference Thursday afternoon.

The coveted player's father, former NBA athlete Sonny Parker, told USA Today that Duke and Michigan State are likely the finalists. But the Simeon High senior told the Chicago Tribune he hasn't quite decided.

"I still have doubts, so I'm not fully there. But I'll have it by that day," Parker said last week. "It's just a commitment. It's not like I'm signing. It still gives me room to make plans in case anything goes otherwise."

If Parker were to ask the Jazz players — who were both picked in the top three after their single seasons of college ball — they have several pieces of advice they'd offer to the teenage talent.

"When you go to college, you've got to pick the right school and the right situation," said the 21-year-old Favors, who was in this spot four years ago. "Sometimes you can go in and be in the wrong situation and that can mess up your stock and your draft. You've got to really do your homework on schools and the coaches."

And that's just the beginning.

"Just work hard while you're there," Favors said, continuing to dish out free advice. "Don't buy into the NBA draft stuff. Don't buy into that (hype) … that can mess you up."

Favors grew up in Atlanta, and that played a major role in why he chose to attend Georgia Tech for his freshman campaign. He was then selected third overall in the 2010 draft by the Nets before being traded to Utah as part of the Deron Williams deal in February 2011.

"My whole thing (was) I just wanted to stay close to home so my family and friends could get to see me play," Favors said. "If I would've went out of state, they wouldn't have got a chance to see me play that much."

Williams would caution anyone in Parker's situation to take his time — in making the college choice and even in coming out of school to go pro.

"For any kid, obviously it's a big decision," Williams said. "Just go to college and enjoy it, and if you really like it, stay another year, stay another two years. If you feel like you're ready to move on, then move on."

Williams has heard of Parker and knew that he was the No. 2 recruit, but Favors wasn't familiar with the highly publicized prep player because, "I don't pay attention to high school." No offense intended, of course.

In fact, the Jazz power forward was caught off guard when told that Parker was considering playing for BYU, which hasn't exactly been a pipeline to the NBA in recent years (aside from Jimmer, of course).

It made much more sense to Favors when it was explained to him that Parker is an LDS athlete. That also plays into Favors' opinion that every case is different and requires unique factors to be carefully considered.

"You've got to pick the right situation," Favors said. "If he want to go to BYU, that might be a good situation for him because he'll probably automatically be the man on their team. That'd be a good situation for him."

Williams didn't have his mind set on leaving the Tar Heels after one season, but he believed it was the right decision for his situation. The Atlanta Hawks then picked the small forward No. 2 overall in the 2005 draft, ahead of Deron Williams (third to Utah) and Chris Paul (fourth to New Orleans).

"I didn't have any intentions of going to college and being a one-and-done," Williams said. "I had to do what I had to do for my family."

Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin can empathize with Parker's father. Corbin's son, Tyrell, wasn't in the same multi-star category as Parker, but the former Utah Mr. Basketball had options coming out of West High in 2011.

"I wanted it to be his decision and him to be comfortable with it," Corbin said. "So I was not as hands-on as I might've liked to be because I wanted it to be (his choice) and about him and not about me."

The younger Corbin eventually picked to play for UC Davis. After his freshman season, the guard transferred to Salt Lake Community College, where he's currently playing.

Coach Corbin believes it's important for fathers to have open communication with their sons, so they can offer assistance when needed. There's a fine line with being helpful and pushy, though.

"The kid ultimately is going to have to be comfortable with his decision," Corbin said, "but some need a little bit more guidance than others."

And Corbin's advice for a guy like Parker?

"I wasn't a one-and-done guy, so I couldn't (say)," he said, laughing. "I think there's some method to it. I wasn't that kind of guy."

Corbin played for DePaul in Chicago, so it's highly possible that would've been his suggested destination for the young Windy City star.

The Jazz coach did point out how impressive it's been that Kentucky's John Calipari has managed to win big with multiple one-and-done guys. (Jazz center Enes Kanter went to Kentucky for one year before entering the draft, but he was unable to play in 2010-11 due to ineligibility issues.)

Corbin appreciates the difficulty of the decision because it affects a player's college and pro career. It's just a foreign concept to him because he played all four years before being drafted in the second round by San Antonio in 1985.

"I can't even imagine having to think about (it)," said Corbin, who logged 16 seasons in the NBA. The choice, he added, would come down to "which team would give you the best chance to play and show what you're doing, but you need to win and want to win too."

After saying there isn't just one script to follow, Corbin ended the interview with three words that aptly sum up the situation for everybody on the outside — and maybe even for Parker:

"I don't know."

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