One on one with Jabari Parker

It's been a busy couple of months for the nation's top overall prospect, Jabari Parker. Since finishing his junior high school season the 6'8 wing has been featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated, made plans to play for Team USA, and changed his phone number in an attempt to avoid the media spotlight. On Thursday evening Parker touched on these topics and much more with TDD.

TDD: How much of the college basketball season were you able to watch?

Jabari Parker: There were a couple teams that I watched. I watched Kentucky several times, and I thought they got really good penetration which I think that fits my game pretty good. I also looked at Kansas and how they implemented Tomas Roinson's game into the post. I just watched a lot of the top teams like Duke and how they got Austin Rivers off around the perimeter and what kind of shots he got.

When you are searching for a good fit, do you look more at the system of play or the players the team has had?

I look at players they've had in the past and how they were able to be successful and what led them to be successful in the NBA.

How do you think you are going to handle the new contact recruiting rules?

Really I'm just gonna go on with it. It's a lot better than people coming up to you for pictures. I mean this what the fans want and for a lot of people who follow sports, it's what's necessary for them to get insights.

How do you see yourself handling your decision, Jabari? Do you want something more low key or would you like a big announcement?

Definitely more low key. I don't want to show up the school or my future teammates. I never want to say this is all about me because it was necessary for all my teammates to be a part of this. I just want to do something with my people at school and my teammates.

Can you shed some light on the role of your parents in your decision and how they help you?

Yeah they help a lot. They take a lot of calls for me, and I don't really like to give my number out...so they help me a lot by taking most the calls.

Michigan State has been mentioned prominently with you in the media, can you share about your relationship with Tom Izzo and your thoughts on the program?

Coach Izzo is a very good guy and they are a family oriented organization. They go to the finals of the tournament a lot and they are a big contender in the Big Ten. I'm looking forward to learning more about how I could grow there.

What's your level of interest in Kansas, and how has their recruitment of you progressed?

Kansas is a real good program. They just came from the national championship game and when I go to college I want to win so whatever school is hot, and whatever schools have the best players, and whoever has the best system…I'll be looking forward to going there.

What's the local pull like for you, and can you elaborate on your relationship with [new Illinois coach] John Groce?

I don't know right now. I wanted to give my coach an opportunity to see him so I can have some more comfort. I don't really know coach Groce as a person or what kind of system he runs, so I'm definitely going to have to do my research.

How about your communication with the Duke coaching staff?

I haven't really talked with them in a good long time.

Are you planning on watching them with Team USA or is that not a big deal?

Oh no, that's a really big deal to me. Getting a chance to represent the United States at that level…that's really important.

You've mentioned in prior interviews the importance of developing your brand in college. Considering you have been on the cover of Sports Illustrated already, it seems that your efforts are paying off in that department.

Well, that's the number one thing in sports is to be a good brand and have a good image. It's something I would like to have and I think people have responded to that since I've been a known player. People don't like jerks so that's something I watch out for"

What have you learned from watching LeBron and seeing all the attention coming his way?

He's handling it the best because people judge him without really knowing him. A lot of people are hating on him, and I see people crucifying him already, especially the quote unquote sports analysts. But, he seems to handle it all really well.

Following up on something you said earlier about the lack of communication recently with Coach K, was that something part of a plan they expressed or was it for different reasons?

It's just how it has happened lately. I changed my phone number because the open period is coming and I didn't want all the calls. Right now I just don't have time to deal with [the recruiting process]. It can take care of itself for now. Once I get done with AAU season I can look at it. For now though I don't want many people having my new number.


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