2013 Basketball Recruiting: Jabari Parker To Duke; Florida Gators Lose Elite Recruit

It appears Billy Donovan and the Florida Gators had too much ground to cover to steal a truly elite recruit from one of the nation’s top programs, Duke. The Blue Devils received the commitment of the No. 2 player in the nation, Simeon’s Jabari Parker. On Thursday, Parker chose Duke over BYU, Michigan State, Stanford, and Florida.

Many followers of the Gators’ basketball recruiting, including myself, saw their hopes leap sky-high while watching Parker’s announcement. This was due to the fact that Parker appeared to be pulling something of blue color out of a backpack as he was making his announcement. You know the rest from there. Crashing all of our hopes and dreams, the young recruit revealed a blue jacket that let the nation know his intent to play for the Duke Blue Devils next year.

Though Chicago’s small forward Parker wasn’t thought to be a likely possibility for Florida very long ago, the Gators pursued him in large strides, finishing with a valiant effort and becoming one of the top teams considered. Unfortunately, that doesn’t add him to next year’s Gators roster, but don’t stop believing that the Gators can’t be great next year. They are still in consideration for top recruit Julius Randle, and already have top-ten recruits Kasey Hill and Chris Walker committed. The future still looks very bright, this year, and next.

2013 Basketball Recruiting: Florida Gators November Recruiting Update

With the football season more than halfway over, election day today, and the Florida Gators’ basketball season three days away, it’s safe to say that this year has been flying by. That being said, it’s always the right time to talk about basketball recruiting. Below is an update on how Florida stands with three elite basketball recruits.

Dakari Johnson

Center, Dakari Johnson: Good news came for Florida when it was learned that former 2014 center Dakari Johnson reclassified to become the No. 1 center in the 2013 class. This comes a pleasant surprise for Florida because, of course, they can never have enough size up front. Even more of a pleasant surprise, Johnson is a teammate of Kasey Hill at the Montverde Academy of Florida. Kasey Hill’s friendship and Johnson’s already-formed relationship with Billy Donovan through the Under-17 Olympic team should factor as advantages for Florida to land the top recruit.

Leaders: Florida, Kentucky, Kansas, Syracuse, Georgetown, Ohio State, and Georgia

Prediction: Florida receives Johnson’s commitment thanks in large part to his ties to fellow recruit Kasey Hill and coach Billy Donovan.

Forward, Julius Randle: The player who is regarded as the No. 2 recruit in the 2013 class by Rivals has been one of Billy Donovan’s primary targets in a recruiting year that has already been quite great. Randle is somewhat of an athletic freak, drawing comparisons to a more-skilled Terrence Jones. Florida’s angle on Randle is similar to that of Johnson. Randle was also coached by Donovan on the Under-17 Olympic team, and the two have a very good relationship. On a team that would be already incredibly athletic with Chris Walker, Kasey Hill, Dorian Finney-Smith, and Demontre Harris (assuming Patric Young doesn’t return next season, even though that would be even more great), Randle would take it to a whole new level of athleticism.

Leaders: Kentucky, NC State, Florida, Texas, Kansas and Oklahoma

Prediction: In what should be a very close race between Florida, Texas, and Kentucky, I can’t bring myself to bet against Kentucky pursuing a high-profile recruit that is very sought-after, though this one could go in any direction.

Forward: Jabari Parker: The 6’8″ Parker is the No. 1 prospect in all the land, but don’t count on Florida’s chances of landing him because they are slim. Florida was very fortunate to make his top-five, but the chances of Florida edging out Duke or BYU are very unlikely. Though it’s not likely to happen, stranger things have happened and the elite scorer would be an awesome surprise that I’m sure Gators fans would welcome.

Leaders: BYU, Stanford, Duke, Michigan State, and Florida.

Prediction: Duke beats out BYU in a close race. Michigan State is the dark-horse.

Video Time: Here’s a great video of the latter two of three recruits, Randle and Parker, battling against each other. Could they someday be teammates?