Saturday, July 30, 2011

Do some good. Come to BYU.

I wish I could put my brain in Jabari Parker's body.

If you're a BYU fan, you probably already know all about Mr. Parker. He's the 6-8 high school junior from Chicago who might just be the No. 1 basketball prospect in 2013. He's an incredible player. He's a lottery NBA pick for sure.

Oh yeah, and he's LDS.

That last little beauty has BYU fans like me all aflutter. Like it or not, the church connection means BYU has to be in the conversation when it comes to Jabari's recruitment.

Realistically though, Jabari-to-BYU has to be considered a long shot. This kid literally has his choice of schools. Duke, Kentucky, Kansas... They all want him. Dave Rose is making a strong play for Parker, but it'll be an uphill battle.

I've never been a No. 1 anything before, so I can't imagine what Jabari's recruitment must be like. He's got a tough choice to make, but if it was me it would be the easiest choice in the world: I'd pick BYU.

Here's the thing, JP is going to the NBA. That much is certain. And he's most likely going after one year. So if your college experience is going to be limited to just one year, I ask you this: does it really matter what college you pick?

Actually, that all depends.

if he goes to Kansas or Kentucky, no. He'll be another flash in the pan. Don't get me wrong, the fans will love him, but in a school with 500 legends it's pretty easy to get lost in the mix.

At BYU, though, he would be the ultimate ambassador for the school and the church. He would spark countless conversations about Mormons, the mission of BYU and faith, and it would extend well beyond his one year in college. He would do all sorts of good for BYU with a long and successful career in the NBA.

In other words, Jabari Parker's future is already taken care of. He'll be just fine. However, he is now in the unique position of being able to do something extremely good for his church, and his church's school.

And if JP is worried about exposure or draft position or whatever, I've got two words for him: Jimmer Fredette. Jimmer showed the world you can play at a mid-major school and still be the most popular player in the universe. Jabari could do that. And if he does indeed come to BYU, he'll even have the advantage of having regular games on ESPN, a luxury Jimmer never had.

Like I said, I'm not Jabari Parker. I'm a 27-year-old BYU fan who has no idea how it feels to have every major college in the country beat down your door. It has to be flattering. But if it WAS me, I'd take a good hard look at the big picture. I'd go to BYU so I could do the most good for myself and my church.

3 comments:

Jonathan said...

A call from Jimmer might help Parker make up his mind.

Will said...

Jabari sounds like a great kid with a good mind. As much as I'd love to see him here at the Y, his faith and character could have as much of a positive impact at any other program he chooses. When it comes to an elite LDS athlete like him there are pros and cons to going to BYU and pros and cons to going elsewhere...

A few pros of coming to BYU include an environment and education in harmony with his faith and standards, the ability to attract lots of positive exposure to the school and church in the way Jimmer did, and of course a huge dating pool among girls that would share his faith and standards. Then there is the ESPN and BYUtv deals. However, given that the majority of teammates and classmates would already share his faith, there might be less on-campus missionary opportunities.

Some pros of choosing a big program back east would be the ability to stand out as an example of his faith on campus and among his teammates and coaches which could then lead to some great missionary moments allowing him to share his faith in a more direct way with those he associates with. He'd also be closer to home, family, & friends he grew up with if he were to stay back east.

Either way, he'll have to decide what factors are most important to him: where he feels he'll be the most comfortable, where he feels he can have the most success, the best social experience, and so on.

Regardless of his choice, he looks and sounds like he'll be fun to watch wherever he plays, especially if he continues to grow and progress the way he has.

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