When you are as good at basketball as Jabari Parker is -- when you've got three state titles and a Gatorade National Player of the Year award before your senior season, and you've been on the cover of Sports Illustrated with the headline "The best high school player since LeBron James is …" followed by your name -- your recruitment is going to be tedious. It's inevitable. Deadlines are set and reset, visits are made, relationships must be preserved, and all the while everyone keeps asking you over and over and over again, to the point where it must drive you at least a little bit insane:
Where are you going to go?
In a week's time, Parker will finally answer. According to the Chicago Sun-Times and USA Today, Parker will announce his decision next Thursday, Dec. 20. Sonny Parker, Jabari's father, told USA Today that his son is keeping his decision under wraps, but the elder Parker had a few ideas:
"He hasn't told me where," Sonny Parker told USA Today. "I didn't ask him. It's kind of hard to say. He's liked all the schools we've visited. He's hard to read sometimes. He keeps things to himself, so I don't put any pressure on him. I think it will probably be between Duke and Michigan State. That's what I'm thinking."
That will let down Florida, Stanford and especially BYU fans, who treated Parker like a visiting dignitary upon his visit, complete with a well-produced "Gangnam Style" parody. And it will make Duke and Michigan State fans do backflips in the middle of their offices/classroooms from now until Thursday, when one fan base will be severely let down.
Wherever Parker decides to play, it is probably best for him to get the decision out of the way now. As Scoop Jackson detailed Tuesday, in a way only he can, Parker is facing a heap of pressure outside of his recruitment this season. He is still recovering from a summer injury, and still trying to get back into shape, and still trying to win a fourth state title, and still trying to beat back the whispers in the crowd that maybe he isn't as good as everybody thought, that this or that player is better.
I can't really imagine how that must feel, particularly at the age of 17. So Parker can finish his recruitment next week, close the door on all that noise, get to work on the rest of his senior season, and the saga, at least for a few months, can finally end. How good is that going to feel?