At a press conference at Chicago's Simeon High School Thursday afternoon, the nation's No. 2 recruit paused, dug a blue shirt out of a bag behind the podium and announced, "In the fall of 2013, I will be attending Duke University."
That Parker chose to go to Durham is not a huge surprise because Duke and Michigan State have long been considered the favorites. Though Florida, BYU and Stanford also made the 6-foot-8 forward's final five, it was the staffs from Duke and Michigan State that received the chance to make their final pitches to Parker and his family Tuesday and Wednesday night in Chicago.
"I chose Duke because it was the perfect fit for me," Parker said on ESPNU's broadcast. "Coach [Mike] Krzyzewski ... has really played a key role in my development even throughout high school, telling me basic things about what I needed to do. I just felt comfortable that this was the place for me."
The addition of Parker ensures Duke will begin next season at the forefront of the title chase. Even with seniors Seth Curry, Ryan Kelly and Mason Plumlee all graduating after this season, the Blue Devils will likely boast the best collection of perimeter talent in the nation next season.
Starting point guard Quinn Cook is expected to be back, as should be promising shooting guard Rasheed Sulaimon and sharp shooter Andre Dawkins, who is taking a redshirt year this season. Add Parker and highly touted Mississippi State transfer Rodney Hood and top 50 wings 6-foot-4 Matt Jones and 6-foot-6 Semi Ojeleye, and the Blue Devils have an embarrassment of riches in the backcourt and at both forward positions.
What made Parker one of the Class of 2013's most coveted recruits was his versatility on the floor and his character off it.
The multi-faceted Parker has drawn comparisons to Grant Hill and Paul Pierce because of his ability to shoot from the perimeter, attack the rim off the dribble or create for his teammates. He'll be an asset to Duke off the floor too, between his devout Mormon faith, his high GPA and his well-publicized humility.
No matter which school Parker chose, he almost certainly would have made an instant impact next season.
Had Parker joined likely returners Keith Appling, Gary Harris, Branden Dawson and Adreian Payne at Michigan State, the Spartans would have had the most talented lineup Tom Izzo has boasted in years. Florida also would have been a clear-cut championship contender if it had added Parker to an already highly touted 2013 recruiting class. And for Stanford and BYU, Parker would have been the type of impact recruit that could have transformed their programs from good to elite.
Those four programs instead will have to watch Parker at Duke, where he will no doubt find success.
He might only spend one year at Duke before moving on to the NBA, but the Blue Devils will have the talent around him to make sure it's a memorable one.
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