It isn't very often when you come across the story in the world of basketball recruiting that helps, even in a small sense restore a sense of faith in humanity. Okay, perhaps I am over dramatizing it just a little but a recent article on ESPN's recruiting page did make me feel particularly good about one of Duke and well the entire countries more sought after targets for the class of 2013.
Jabari Parker is the most desired player for the class of 2013 and perhaps the most desired player in quite some time. He has drawn comparisons to LeBron James in terms of how good he is, and while he may not be as physically imposing as James he certainly is skilled.
He was even on the cover of Sports Illustrated just a few weeks ago. Not many high schoolers ever get that kind of attention.
And while the hype machine goes on Parker is going to be slowing things down this summer or at the very least his father is. According the the ESPN article, Sonny Parker is going to be limiting his son's access to the media.
In the elder Parker's words they are "shutting it down" to give him a chance to be a normal kid, well as normal as the 6-foot-9 most talented junior in the country can possibly be.
Currently Parker is being recruited and offered scholarships by seemingly every top program in the country but as of yet has not narrowed his options. Sonny Parker indicated that that narrowing down process will come in due time.
I really have to give him credit for attempting to reign in the chaos that seems to sweep away so many young, talented players. He is doing something not a great deal of parents of top athletes do these day, keep them grounded and humble.
From everything I've read Jabari Parker already seems like a fairly humble kid, but when you get swept up in the media attention and hype sometimes it is hard to come back down. I believe Sonny Parker is very wisely attempting to keep his son firmly planted on the ground even if his ability has him jumping out of a gym on most game nights.
But as the elder Parker told ESPN, not many kids are playing in games getting out of the shower and seeing that same game on Youtube immediately. That is how much attention he is getting and I think it wise to slow that down.
Parker will still be making the rounds. He will attend the NBPA Top 100 camp, train in Colorado and play in Lithuania with Team USA's U17 squad. He also plans on playing in a couple Nike EYBL events and will show up at the ESPYs.
Sonny Parker's decision to limit his son's media accessibility is good If for no other reason than to give him time to breath, enjoy his summer, his last one as a high schooler, before his senior season when the media will be swarming from almost day one waiting on his decision.
Recruiting is a nasty game and Sonny Parker seems to get that fact and is taking pre-emptive action to prevent his son from getting burdened and swept away in it. It is the kind of thing parents should do more often but often do not because they themselves get swept away in all of the attention.
So my hat is off to Sonny Parker for stepping up and taking control of keeping his son somewhat protected and isolated from the madness that eventually, whether he likes it or not, will ensue over the course of the next eight to 12 months.
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