Parker, the nation’s No. 2 senior, chose the Blue Devils over Michigan State, Florida, Stanford and BYU. The 6-foot-8 forward considered many factors in his decision, but ultimately the history that Duke has stuck out to Parker the most.
“What brought me to the decision was, of course, the history,” Parker said. “Duke was always going to be a team in the tournament. You can’t go wrong at the program. And most importantly, the long-term investment — I feel if I go there I can get a good degree.”
Parker also chose to Duke because he felt the school was close enough to his Chicago home and would be accessible for his parents and family to attend games. But Parker also selected the Blue Devils because he wants to learn from Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski.
“And it’s just Coach K — that’s one of the best coaches ever, and I wanted to be able to experience the things that he has,” Parker said.
Krzyzewski has had success in recruiting top prospects out of Chicago. He has been able to lure Jon Scheyer, Sean Dockery, Michael Thompson, and Corey Maggette to Durham. Now Parker adds to the growing list.
The recruitment of Parker was made very difficult for schools. Only Parker’s father Sonny Parker, his mother Lola Parker and Simeon coach Robert Smith handled his recruitment. College coaches were unable to have his cell phone number and had to go through his parents to reach him.
During Parker’s junior year he received numerous awards. He was named Illinois’ Mr. Basketball, the national Gatorade Player of the Year and ESPNChicago.com Player of the Year. He averaged 19.5 points, 8.9 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 3.3 blocks and 1.4 steals a game.
Parker, who has helped Simeon win three Illinois Class 4A State Championships, has had a rough start to his senior season. He fractured a bone in his right ankle while playing for Team USA in the FIBA under-17 World Championship tournament in July. Parker has played in three games this season, but has played limited minutes as he continues his rehab and improves his conditioning.
Parker was originally ranked No. 1 in the senior class, but Andrew Wiggins reclassified from the Class of 2014 into the Class of 2013 in October.
Duke now has the fourth best recruiting class in the nation with the addition of Parker, according to ESPN. Shooting guard Matt Jones, who is ranked No. 36 in the nation, and small forward Semi Ojeleye, who is ranked No. 41 have already committed to the Blue Devils for 2013 season.