The long awaited decision of Jabari Parker has finally come in.
Chicago (Ill.) Simeon’s five-star forward committed to Duke on Thursday, ending his high-profile recruitment with a much-anticipated announcement at his high school.
“I want to thank everybody that has been helping me,” Parker said during his announcement, televised live on ESPNU. “(In) the fall of 2013 I will be attending Duke University.”
At 6-foot-8 and a normal playing weight of 220 pounds, Parker is one of the most gifted players in all of high school basketball. Following a dominant sophomore year, Parker vaulted to the top of the 2013 rankings, and has been a fixture there since then.
Parker was the No. 1 player in Scout's 2013 rankings before Andrew Wiggins reclassified to 2013 from 2014 and took over the top spot, bumping Parker to No. 2.
Some project Parker as a one-and-done college talent, but he indicated he could play two or three seasons at Duke and said he would pursue a degree either way.
The uncertainty over his decision was apparently genuine. Parker said he didn't pick a school until about 1 p.m. Central.
His mom, Lola, said Parker whispered his decision to her and her husband Sonny as they were walking into the gym, according to the Associated Press.
Parker will join a Duke program next season that will lose seniors Mason Plumlee and Ryan Kelly from a team that earlier this week rose to No. 1 for the first time since February 2011. Plumlee and Kelly are key frontcourt factors in the Blue Devils' success.
Parker's combination of size, skill, and intelligence made him one of the most highly prized recruits in the country. Florida, Michigan State and Duke eventually emerged as frontrunners in the recruiting battle, with the Blue Devils winning out in the end. BYU and Stanford were also among the finalists.
“I just chose Duke because it was the perfect fit for me,” Parker said. “I just felt comfortable.”
This is a huge recruiting win for Duke, as it vaults the Blue Devils' 2013 class to No. 2 overall in the country behind only Kentucky. Parker joins guard Matt Jones and forward Semi Ojeleye -- also five-star recruits -- as commitments in the class.
Parker is not the first basketball superstar to originate from Simeon. Former NBA MVP Derrick Rose played there as well.
Parker also comes from a basketball background. His father, Sonny, played six seasons in the NBA for the Golden State Warriors.
"(Jabari) has a gift and he has what's called 'It'," Sonny Parker said, according to the AP.
Parker is a devout Mormon and has spoken in the past about going on a mission but is not sure when or if he'd do that.
An injury in the summer slowed Parker's progress and forced him to push back his recruiting schedule. But he is officially back in full force.
"His potential, the sky's the limit," Sonny Parker said, according to the AP.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.