At 4 p.m., top basketball recruit Jabari Parker announced that he would play his college basketball at Duke, ending months (even years for some) of speculation about where the latest and possibly greatest Chicago export would land. The decision wasn't a particularly big surprise, but it would have been if you read a rather definitive-sounding article from the Detroit Free Press, posted on the Lansing State Journal's website, that was published at 2:40 p.m. His announcement was as hyped as any in recent memory.
The article's title? "Jabari Parker Picks Michigan State." America, we have our "Dewey Defeats Truman" moment in college recruiting.
The Free Press story, which was penned by Michigan State beat writer Joe Rexrode, went into detail about how Michigan State's relative proximity to Parker's home in Chicago and the relationship he built with Spartans coach Tom Izzo were paramount to the state school winning out in the end.
[Related: Duke nabs hoops prospect Jabari Parker]
Rexrode went on to claim that Parker could be "the missing piece" that sends Michigan State toward another national title in 2013-14, a cruel twist for Michigan State fans salivating over the thought of seeing Parker in their green uniforms.
Instead, the Chicago (Ill.) Simeon High phenom decided to join Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski in Durham, N.C. Most experts had expected Parker would choose Duke all along, which only increased the flurry of attention heaped on Rexrode's story when it was published.
For his part, Rexrode was quick to tweet that the published article was a mistake, and that it was sent over early to the desk because of poor wifi connections at Simeon High, where Parker made his announcement. Still, that did little to quash surging speculation that Parker would opt for the Spartans instead of the Blue Devils.
Is it possible that Rexrode's unintentional error played a role in Parker opting for Duke? Perhaps, though that seems rather unlikely for a player who has taken a long, measured approach to the college recruiting process. Hopefully that realization will help cushion the blow for Michigan State fans and Rexrode, by proxy.
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