Battle for No. 1

At the moment it is a hotly contested two man battle for the top spot in the 2013 class between Jabari Parker and Julius Randle.

Sometimes there is a clear cut No. 1 player in the nation like there was with LeBron James. Other times there is no player who steps up and really commands the ranking. However in the 2013 class it is a little bit different as two prospects have really emerged above the rest.

In the 2013 class both Jabari Parker and Julius Randle are playing at such a high level, that both have separated themselves from the pack not only in their grade level, but in the nation. Right now the argument could even be made that Parker and Randle are the two top players in all of high school basketball.

What makes this battle for No. 1 so special is that both Parker and Randle are determined to be the best players that they can be. There is no lackadaisical play, no resting on laurels, just hard work and a desire to be the best player that they can be.

Right now the one who gets the edge is Parker. Parker has often been compared with current Boston Celtics star Paul Pierce. While no comparison is perfect, it does make sense, and also is worth noting that Parker is more explosive athletically than is Pierce.

Ever since an off season that saw Parker grow an inch and lose some weight, he has exploded from a skilled combo forward to a dynamic small forward. That growth in his game and physically has made Parker the most difficult player in high school basketball to defend.

With his unique ability to handle, pass, and shoot, Parker has the size and skill set to beat a team in any way. When his shot isn't falling he just gets into the lane and makes plays for others, when his teammates are struggling he has the ability to break his man down and get a bucket whenever he wants.

While the offensive ability is nice, what separates Parker from the pack is his desire and ability to defend. At nearly 6-foot-8 he has the ability to defend multiple positions ranging from shooting guard to power forward, and does it at a high level across the board with effort and intelligence.

Given his talent it is no surprise that Parker has offers from Duke, Kansas, Michigan State, Illinois, and Washington. Those five schools right now are the main ones battling it out for his services in what will be one of the most watched recruitments in the country.

While Parker is often compared with Paul Pierce, the player that Randle reminds a lot of people of is Chris Weber. In his time Weber was considered the top prospect in his class, and was one of the best high school players of his generation.

It seems no different with Randle. At 6-foot-8 and 235 pounds, Randle is a physical monster on the low block. He rebounds at a very high level, scores both facing the basket and with his back to the basket, and has a motor that really never quits.

Also what makes Randle so unique is that for a power forward he can really handle and pass the basketball. It isn't all that uncommon for Randle to bring the ball up the floor, face his man up at the three point line, or create off the dribble and make a pass to an open teammate.

His ability to be physical down low and finesse on the perimeter is what makes him such a special prospect, and someone who has been in demand for a long time on the recruiting trail.

Schools such as Texas, Kansas, Duke, North Carolina, Baylor, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Ohio State, and others are all after Randle and fighting for a chance to secure his commitment.

Overall there is no doubt that Randle and Parker are the two premier players in this class. Both have the skill set and the motor to be potential superstars in college and beyond. Right now the edge goes to Parker, but Randle is sure to challenge him to the very end for that top spot.

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