This is a recruitment that began even before Jabari Parker got to high school. Coming from NBA bloodlines with exposure early on in his career schools began pursuing Parker by the time he was in the eighth grade.
The first schools to really get involved were Illinois and Washington. Illinois was an in-state program that put a ton of time in early and was seen as a favorite to land Parker, but they eventually had a coaching change which took the Illini completely out of the mix, though they seemed on the way out even before that took place. Washington is coached by Lorenzo Romar who has known Parker's dad, Sonny, since his college days, and some connected the dots that the Huskies would be the team to beat, but that eventually proved to be untrue.
Soon it would be the Michigan State Spartans and the Duke Blue Devils that would emerge as the teams who had the best chance. Michigan State and Tom Izzo were very active with Parker making him a top priority and attacking on the recruiting trail. Likewise Duke and Mike Krzyzewski really got after it with Parker making him their top 2013 target.
Those two teams seemed to be comfortably in the lead over BYU and Stanford who also managed to be finalists, but never did they seem to have a ton of talk as legit threats. Then came the Florida Gators. Florida emerged very late, but during an in-home visit made a major impression, and that put them in the mix down the stretch.
Overall it was a long recruitment in which Parker had in-home visits and made numerous official and unofficial visits. He didn't rush the process, and had his pick of schools, though a few always seemed to be right there in the mix.
This is why Parker is such a highly recruited player. While the talk of him being the greatest player since LeBron James is a bit aggressive, he is one of those kids who simply doesn't come along every year, and should be a threat to play in the all-star game at the NBA level for nearly his entire career.
Often compared to a guy like Paul Pierce in terms of body type and the lack of elite athleticism, yet high skill level, Parker is capable of doing pretty much everything on the court. While not the athlete of a guy like LeBron James, he is a good passer, has a great feel for the game, attacks the glass, is a solid defender, and has the natural ability to score from all three levels on the floor. Add in that Parker is a student of the game who plays hard every single time, and he is capable of absolutely being dominant when healthy.
Parker has been at his best when the stakes are the highest as well. Playing with USA Basketball he has been one of the highest scorers consistently, and then also during his Chicago (Ill.) Simeon team's run to three state titles in a row he has been excellent.
Overall Parker is the No. 2 recruit at the moment, and is a lock to finish in the top five. This is one of the best classes in recent memory and Parker is a huge reason for it. His talent alone is capable of lifting a team to the Final Four level.
At different times in this recruitment it has seemed that different schools have had the momentum but lately it is all about Duke. That is the pick for Parker in this case. One school not to sleep on is Florida. The Gators have been counted out by most, but Parker is said to be extremely fond of Billy Donovan and company. Still Duke is the odds on choice because of the relationship that Krzyzewski has formed with the family as well as the program's history of putting players in the NBA. Michigan State is said to have a chance, but none the less look for Parker to make his home in the ACC for his year of college. Prediction: DUKE