Preps Talk

Parker's decision to Duke about more than basketball

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Parker's decision to Duke about more than basketball

Its official.Simeon basketball standout Jabari Parker, theNo. 2 ranked player in the nation, has decided to play basketball forMike Krzyzewski and the Duke Blue Devils next year.While Michigan State had long been considered a frontrunner Tom Izzo has been recruiting Parker the longest of any school Duke representedthe "best fit" for Parker, given his skillset, ability, personality and the BlueDevils' style of play. Parker chose Duke over Michigan State,Florida, BYU and Stanford.The high school senior said that the quality of education hewould receive in the classroom was just as important as the quality ofcompetition he would face on the basketball court.At Duke, hell receive both.Its been a blessing just to get an opportunity to be ableto go to school for free. Its a good thing for me as well as my family to beable to save them a couple of dollars in their pocket, said Parker during hisThursday afternoon press conference to announce his college decision.MORE: National recruiting expert Eric Bossi breaks down Parker's decisionParker said he was undecided up until the early afternoon onThursday when he finally made his decision. Despite the entire basketball worldwaiting on pins and needles to see which college he would be attending next fall,the Simeon senior wanted it to be just like any other day.Today, I was just focused on class and let everything elsehandle itself. I probably got my answer at 1 o'clock this afternoon. Everythingcame together and I was confident. You just feel that emotion in your heartthat tells you its time to decide and my heart gave me the right decision.What brought me to the decision was, of course, thehistory. Duke is always going to be a team in the tournament. You cant gowrong at that program. Also, most importantly, was the long-term investment. Ifeel like if I go there I can get a good degree.Parker said that ultimately his decision came down to the Blue Devils, the Spartans and the Florida Gators. Long known for his thoughtfulness andtendency to think of others before himself, Parker gave some insight into whyone of the schools didnt make the cut and his reasoning was something youdont often hear from elite athletes.Branden Dawson is the main reason why I didnt pickMichigan State today, remarked Parker. I dont want to mess up his thing his groove. Hes been there two years so me coming in there would be kind ofdisrespectful to him and the program. I just want Branden to do well. Hes alocal kid, from the area Gary, Ind. and me coming in at the last minutewould kind of ruin everything.Parker is the third top 100 recruit that Coach K has hassigned thus far, but hes also one of the best. He now joins a recruiting classfeaturing guard Matt Jones of DeSoto High in Texas (who beat Simeon last weekin a nationally televised contest) who is ranked No. 36nationally,and Semi Ojeleye of Ottawa High in Kansas who is ranked No. 42in thenation.Surprisingly enough, Parker said that out of all the college visits hetook, his trip to Duke was the one he least enjoyed.RELATED: Newspaper has its 'Dewey defeats Truman' momentTo tell you the truth, that was probably the worst on-campusvisit that I had, said Jabari of his trip to the Duke University campus inDurham, N.C. I didnt do what I wanted to do, and thats be a kid have fun.But I know that being in college is all business and thats what they wanted toshow me. I didnt have a good time, but they wanted to tell me and prepare meand give me a little taste of how its going to be in college.When asked howKrzyzewskiresponded to the phone call he madeon Thursday afternoon letting him know that he was coming to Duke, he said thecoach handled it with his typical cool demeanor.Coach K just said congratulations. He didnt sound like itover the phone but I know he was pretty excited in his mind even though Dukelands players like me all the time.

67 Days to Kickoff: Hillcrest

67 Days to Kickoff: Hillcrest

NBCSportsChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting July 30, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 24.

School: Hillcrest

Head coach: Morgan Weaver

Assistant coaches:  Mike Young, Kyran Weaver, Rob Hancock, Ryan Keen, Nicholas Schultz, Tramaine Weaver, Phillip Burkett and Langdon Mattox

How they fared in 2017: 9-3 (5-1 South Suburban Blue Conference). Hillcrest made the Class 5A state football playoff field. The Hawks defeated Peoria and Glenwood then lost to Dunlap in the quarterfinal round.

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 vs Rich Central

Sept. 1 @ Rich South

Sept 7 @ Shepard

Sept. 14 vs Oak Forest

Sept. 21 vs Lemont

Sept. 28 @ Tinley Park

Oct. 5 @ T.F. South

Oct. 12 @ T.F. North

Oct. 19 vs Bremen

[MORE: 79 Days to Kickoff - Crete-Monee]

Biggest storyline: Consistency. After two straight postseason berths, can the Hawks reload and get back into the IHSA playoff field once again this fall?

Names to watch this season: WR Corey Crooms (Western Michigan) and DE Cam Mattox (NIU)

Biggest holes to fill: The Hawks welcome back 11 returning starters (six offense, five defense); hoewever, they will need to reload on the offensive line and at linebacker. 

EDGY's Early Take: Head coach Morgan Weaver was able to get the Hawks into the state playoffs in his first season. What can they do as an encore? Hillcrest has the potential to be a real threat in 5A. Keep an eye on a strong and experienced group of receivers and backs led by senior Corey Crooms (Western Michigan). They also boast a defense that features an experienced secondary and a ton of speed. 

68 Days to Kickoff: Oswego East

68 Days to Kickoff: Oswego East

NBCSportsChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting July 30, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 24.

School: Oswego East

Head coach: Tyson LeBlanc

Assistant coaches: Dan Dunbar, Andy Brogan, Jeremy Main, Erik Aister, Dru Filkins, Connor Downs, Zac Sadek, Reggie Cribbs and Mike Harden

How they fared in 2017: 7-3 (7-2 Southwest Prairie Conference). Oswego East made the Class 8A state football playoff field. The Wolves lost to St. Charles East in opening round action.

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 vs Plainfield East

Aug. 31 @ Joliet West

Sept. 7 vs Romeoville

Sept. 14 vs Joliet Central

Sept. 21 @ Plainfield South

Sept. 28 @ Plainfield North

Oct. 5 vs Oswego

Oct. 12 vs Plainfield Central

Oct. 19 vs Minooka

[MORE: 73 Days to Kickoff - Joliet Central]

Biggest storyline: Can the Wolves get out of the rugged Southwest Prairie conference and make a run in the IHSA state playoffs?

Names to watch this season: ATH Justin Clark and WR Kieon Battle

Biggest holes to fill: The Wolves will need to replace their entire starting defensive line from a season ago.

EDGY's Early Take: Oswego East head coach Tyson LeBlanc is shooting to make the IHSA playoff field and the fourth straight year in 2018. He has a 36-24 record since coming over from Curie High School back in 2012. Oswego East will rely on a strong group of returning offensive skills led by D-1 recruit Justin Clark, who can --and will-- play multiple positions this season for the Wolves.