Thursday, July 12, 2012

No Jabari, Denied!

Jabari Parker #1 ranked prospect in the land.              courtesy 

Wayne's Worlds Wayne Campbell & Garth Algar once asked a friend, "If your gonna spew, spew into this" for which he was referring to a minuscule Dixie cup.

I think Illini fans are gonna need something much larger than a Dixie cup to "spew in" after hearing the news from Jabari Parker today.

The Illini fans will once again have to get over another top in-state recruit rejecting the home state school for what they obviously feel is greener pastures. 

Jabari Parker, who Sports Illustrated has called the best high school basketball player since LeBron James, made his top list of schools and rounded it nicely to 10.

S.I. cover boy Jabari Parker.

And ever so embarrassingly the University of Illiniois Fighting Illini were not one of them.  They didn't make the cut.  They really weren't even left at the alter.  They were left as clean up crew for after the party. 

The fortunate schools who did have the pleasure of seeing their names in the tweet he sent went as follows:  BYU, DePaul, Duke, Florida, Georgetown, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan State, North Carolina, and Stanford.  Jabari did make clear they were in no certain order.  Read into that all you want.

As Illini basketball fans it was just another indication of where the program is at this time.  It is at its lowest point in a great long while.  To not even be listed in the final 10 schools speaks louder than my daughter when she has her headphones on.

 The Orange Krush turned blue with the Jabari news today.

It has been said Jabari had a good relationship with Bruce Weber and Jerrance Howard which began in the 5th grade.  There is a great deal to be said for built relationships and creating trust in an untrustworthy world.  The change in staff at Illinois did them no justice in his recruitment. 

The new staff was really hand-tied in their ability to do damage control.  I believe John Groce did what he could to build a relationship with Jabari but it just wasn't enough.  I think when Weber and Howard were gone so was Parker.  He may not have said it publicly but he was thinking it.   

I don't think realistically the Illini had any chance to land this super talented player even if Weber and Howard were still here.  I really don't think any of the teams he listed have any chance to land this super talented player away from a cut throat recruiter like John Calipari.  He has shown when he wants a player he lands them.  Bill Self or Tom Izzo have had  plenty of success recruiting superstars but will have trouble landing him over what Kentucky has to offer.

Coach Cal has plenty to smile about these days.  Is Jabari the reason?

Of the other schools it has been documented Jabari has a relationship built with DePaul assistant Billy Garrett which is surely why they are on the list.  Because if it really came down to level of national notoriety at this time for basketball programs the Illini are in much better shape then the Blue Demons. 

To see him list BYU in his group due to his faith as a Mormon was not shocking either.  This goes along with his wanting a relationship with his final school and what better relationship than with God and your faith.  I think selecting them among his final 10 schools reaffirms his strength in his faith and shows what kind of person he is.  He also has to decide if he will embark on a 2 year mormon mission and put those NBA dreams on hold.  I really don't see it happening but then again I didn't see the Illini not at least being in his top 10 either. 

The bottom line is Jabari is going where HE wants to and it is definitely not Illinois. 

I am sure in the long run fans will forget that he didn't come to Illinois as he plays his one year of college ball and then scrams for the riches of the NBA.  The Illini will alter their focus and allow themselves to further recruit players who WANT to be at Illinois and will be there for more than one year. 

I am a true believer in things in life happen for a reason.  It is hard to explain or understand at the time they happen but hopefully someday you figure it out. 

So Jabari won't be coming down state to Champaign.  Nor will the Orange Krush be rooting on the "next LeBron James".  And the sickened Illini faithful will have to wait once again for their savior. 

So finally I will leave you with one more meaningful interaction between Wayne and Garth in regards to what Illini fans are probably feeling like at this moment.

 Illini Nation will not be "Partying On" tonight that is for sure!

"Uhm, Wayne?  What do you do if every time you see this one incredible woman, you think you're gonna hurl?" 

"I say hurl.  If you blow chunks and she comes back, she's yours.  But if you spew and she bolts, then it was never meant to be."

Obviously Jabari was never meant to be!


  1. Why in the world would Jabari Parker ever consider Illinois.

    He is going to be in college basketball one year. He wants to play on a team that he can take to the NCAA championship. Illinois, even with Parker, is not going anywhere, next year or any time in the near future.

    Illinois is the type of school that might recruit Michael Jordan's son, but they will never recruit a Michael Jordan.

    1. I don't know what your "team of choice" is in regards to rooting interest so I will respond in this manner. I mentioned Illinois wouldn't have probably landed Jabari; however, to be in his final list for his services will sooner or later pay off on someone. Every coach beats his head on the pavement in order to land players and then finally breaks through. Groce will get one and that is where it starts. Hopefully he is successful and brings the Illini to where we all want them to be. To your comment on recruiting MJ's kid or MJ himself I think you are short sighted and not remembering the past. The Illini, with a coach who can recuit, can land those players. In the 80's when Lou/Jimmy where at their best we regularly landed high caliber talent. Bill Self had similar success, obviously. The past 9 years with Bruce Weber have been dreadful in the recruiting game. He left us in a hole to dig out of. Recruiting takes extremely hard work and dedication and John Groce will do the work. Do the kids anyone gets always work out, no. But can you get them here, yes. Thanks for the comment and keep them coming. Love to interact with readers.

    2. Had Parker included Illinois in his list of ten, it would have only been a courtesy extended to the U. of I., and everyone would have know it. Top ranked players, because they will be in school one or two years at the very most, want to go to winning programs, like Kentucky, Duke, etc.

      Perhaps my memory about Lou, Jimmy and Bill isn’t all that good. Exactly how many NCAA championships did they win?

    3. Thanks again for the response. The winning programs you are speaking of had to start somewhere and they had to land players too that weren't in their program. Example of Duke when Coach K had taken over was on the verge of being fired only a couple of years after taking over because their fanbase didn't feel he was working out. They stuck with him, he landed great players, and we all know how that turned out. The Illini unfortunately haven't won a championship but have had instances where they were on the cusp and it could have gone either way. See Illinois teams in 1984, 1989, and 2005. The 1984 team was robbed of a chance to win a national championship because they had to play AT Kentucky in the Elite 8 and which is now why the NCAA changed this rule for hosting games in the NCAA tournament. The 1989 team was beat by a very talented and inspired Michigan Wolverines team they destroyed in the regular season 2 times on a last second shot by Sean Higgins in the Final Four. They would have crushed Seton Hall in the title game. The 2005 team was beaten by a super talented Carolina team in the championship game that came down to a few possesions late and a Luther Head three that could have given them the lead with seconds left and that would have been different. So it shows luck isn't always on your side but it doesn't mean your not a winning program because you didn't win a championship. Illinois is at a low point in their existance but it only takes one person to "buy in" and change the culture in Champaign. Especially in basketball where a player can make a mediocre team a good or great team. Then others will certainly follow. Thanks again for the comments.

    4. 1984: If only there hadn’t been that bad NCAA rule
      1989: If only there hadn’t been that hot Michigan team
      2005: If only Head had hid that shot.

      Here are some more:
      1985: If only Dekinger hadn’t blown that call at first base
      1998: If only the ref had called Jordan with a foul, when he “stole” the ball with seconds left on the clock
      2003: If only Bartman had let Alou catch that ball

      Any team in any sport can say “if only” for that one incident, we would have won. And, sometimes it may be true, but it’s a bottom line business.

      Here’s one more: If only Groce could recruit one star player

      This is my last post on this topic. Enjoyed talking basketball with you, always enjoy your articles.

    5. Mr. Basketball, Thanks for the comments and hopefully my future articles will spark up the same level of interest and discussion.