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I've said before that there never will be a "next Jimmer". But this guy could be the next HUGE thing for BYU. After going through Jimmer withdrawal for over a year now, I'm ready for a new star. I don't want to wait another 30 years to get another player like Danny Ainge or Jimmer.
They may not be scientific, but here are my top 10 reasons Jabari Parker should come to BYU (in no particular order):
1. He's AMAZING. BYU is amazing. They belong together. 'Nuff said.
2. He's LDS. You won't find a bigger, better group of LDS people on the planet than at BYU. If he's got that opportunity, he should grab it. I can't imagine for a second that he'd regret it.
3. I'm being selfish on this one, but I desperately want to see him play live. Really, really, really badly. If he comes to BYU, I'd get to see him many, many times in the good ol' MC. Score.
4. Catch phrases would abound, and they're just plain fun. "You got Jabari'ed" sounds almost as cool as "You got Jimmered." We could also throw in "Your team's sorry you ain't got Jabari!" (I am hereby coining that phrase right now. Copyright ME.) He would get worshipped in Provo like unto The Jimmer (but don't worry, Michelle Peralta, it wouldn't be in an unrighteous way... psh).
5. It would improve the image of BYU and the Church worldwide. People would realize that not all Mormons are white men who can't jump. And while some of (or most of) them are certainly weird, others are really, awesomely talented. People would wonder why Jabari chose to go to BYU of all places and they'd want to find out the answer. Enter the missionaries. Rock on.
6. He'd get really good exposure. BYUTV and ESPN would put him on TVs around the world night after night. I think BYU is one of the best schools to go to if you want to get your name out there and get attention. It's small and unique enough that he won't get lost in the crowd of stars, but big enough that he can get some real prestige and a good education out of it.
7. He'd have the option of serving a mission after his freshman year. True, he may not take it, but if he came to BYU, he'd be strongly encouraged to make his own decision. If he goes to another university, he'd be very looked down upon by his coaches and teammates for leaving basketball for 2 years, since it might downsize or maybe even seriously damage his chances of making it big in the NBA. Danny and Jimmer didn't serve missions, and maybe Jabari won't either, but I feel like he at least needs to have the freedom to choose and not be pressured by any more outside negative forces than necessary.
8. If he goes to one of the bigs, like Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, or Duke instead, he'd just be one in the crowd. Yeah, he'd probably be one of the best players in the crowd, but he'd be among a whole bunch of other amazing, NBA-worthy players, too. If he came to BYU, he'd be the stand-alone face of the team. All focus would be on him. Would Jimmer have been nearly as popular if he'd gone somewhere else with a lot of NBA-caliber players on the team? Would he have been interviewed on ESPN and just about every sports radio show in the country almost every night? I don't think so.
9. It would be an awesome opportunity for Dave Rose. I think they'd be amazing together and could both benefit and learn A LOT from working with each other. Coach Rose has also done the whole NBA thing recently with Jimmer and he could be a good partner for Jabari going into the pros. He could focus almost solely on him instead of having split focus among a whole bunch of NBA-bound stars. Rose brought out the best in Jimmer and has proven he can do amazing things with even mediocre players-- just imagine what he could do with Jabari!
10. Jabari might (MIGHT) be even better than Jimmer. Yes, I said it. Take note, because it probably won't happen often that I say something like that. Jimmer wasn't hardly looked at at all until his junior year of college, and look what he became. Jabari is already being heralded as the best high school basketball player since Lebron James, and he's only 17 years old. He could become much, much bigger than Jimmer, even in Provo, if that's possible.
In summary, the odds of Jabari actually reading this are extremely slim, but I still want to put in my personal shout out to him: Please, please, please come to BYU, Jabari! I want little more than to one day see your jersey hanging next to Danny's & Jimmer's in the rafters of the MC. I say that partly selfishly, but mostly because I really, truly think it would be the best decision for someone in your position to make. But even if you don't come to BYU, I wish you good luck. You are going to be amazing, and I hope you can have a positive impact on the Church and on basketball in general wherever you go.