Jabari Parker Narrows List, No Illini

Jabari Parker Narrows List, No Illini
Letting Jabari Parker get away would be a huge misstep early in John Groce's Illini career.

Full disclosure, I'm a Hoosier basketball fan.  It's kind of weird, though, I didn't become a Hoosiers fan until I went to school there in the fall of 2005.  Before that, I followed the Illini.  That 2004-2005 team with the trifecta of Dee Brown, Deron Williams, and Luther Head went all the way to the National Championship game before losing to Sean May and the Tar Heels of North Carolina.

This offseason, the Illini fired Bruce Weber after nine seasons and brought in John Groce, who coached Ohio University to the Sweet 16 in this year's tournament.  Right away, Groce faced a big challenge: Get Jabari Parker to come to Champaign.

Parker will be a senior this year at Simeon, the same high school that produced Derrick Rose.  He's considered by many to be the best high school prospect in the Class of 2013, and certainly the best in Illinois.  For Illinois basketball to get back to where they want to be, and where their fans think they belong, they HAD to bring Parker down to Assembly Hall.

They appear to have failed.

Just a little bit ago, Parker tweeted his current list of schools he's considering:

No Illinois on that list, but there is a DePaul mention.  It's no surprise that John Calipari and Kentucky make an appearance.  Seeing Michigan State, Kansas, Duke, and North Carolina on top recruits' lists is also quite normal.  Parker is a Mormon, thus the BYU appearance.

For Illinois to not even make the top ten on Parker's list is a shot to the school's basketball credibility.  There was skepticism about the hiring of Groce, and for right now, that skepticism appears to be validated.

Bruce Weber could certainly recruit, maybe the Illini would have been better off keeping him and giving him a chance to coach Parker.


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  • I'm an Illini and it never occurred to me that Parker was coming to play at Assembly Hall. I'm not sure we want him anyway. He's a one and done player. We need long-term commitments to give us some long-term stability. One and done players bring a flash of excitement, but not always success.

    I think he'll end up at BYU. I don't know what the DePaul mention is, except maybe a nod to a Chicago school.

  • I'm a Michigan State alum and huge Spartan fan, and I am thrilled to see Jabari Parker confirm speculation that MSU is on his short list. That said, I think it's a little quick to pass judgment on Groce's recruiting ability. I've been following the Parker sweepstakes pretty closely from the MSU perspective, and honestly, I never saw Illinois mentioned as a contender even when Weber was still there. Weber's recruiting record -- especially the fact that he was consistently getting beaten by out-of-state schools for top Chicago talent -- was one of the biggest raps against him in the run-up to his dismissal.

  • I am DePaul alum and would love to keep Jabari at home and make him a Blue Demon. Though they have to do considerable work to get back up to standard. Having him though would be a pied piper effect like Quentin Richardson coming to DePaul my senior year in 1998.

  • In reply to Charles W. Johnson:

    And like Cody Zeller to Indiana. IU was struggling after the Kelvin Sampson debacle, then Cody commits and all the sudden Bloomington is the place to be. Can't say I don't mind it.

  • Illini basketball will never be the same as the 2004-2005 team. Even though we lost. But I can't move on.

  • In reply to Amy:

    They had some incredibly memorable wins in the tournament that year too.

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