By Aaron Bagley
BYU fans everywhere are looking forward to December 20th. This is a huge day for fans of Cougar football, basketball, or both. After almost a month of inactivity for BYU football, they play San Diego State in the Poinsettia Bowl on Thursday. Winning would be a nice way to end a rather mediocre season; however, it won’t have a huge impact of how BYU fans will remember this season. What will have a huge impact on the future will take place across the country. Chicago to be exact.
Next Thursday, Jabari Parker will make his decision on where he will play college basketball. The announcement is at 2 p.m. Mountain Time on ESPNU. To BYU fans, this decision is bigger than LeBron James’ infamous decision. Jabari, who has been labeled “the best high school basketball player since LeBron James” by Sports Illustrated, is choosing between five schools. BYU is obviously one of them. Fans have been going crazy about the thought of Jabari wearing a Cougar uniform. Crazy enough to make a music video that parodies “Gangnam Style”, instead naming it “Parker Style”, and making 6,000 shirts which read “Chicago 2 Provo”. Parker said himself that his visit to Provo was a little bit too much for him at the time.
BYU isn’t necessarily the most likely destination for Parker. Lots of reports say that it is basically between Duke and Michigan State. Even if Jabari doesn’t come to Provo, I think there are positives to take away from this. Lately, in football and basketball, BYU has managed to recruit major prospects and several of them have committed. There was the Jake Heaps commitment which turned out to be a disaster; however, he was the #1 high school quarterback at the time. BYU got Tanner Mangum, who made himself known at the Elite 11 camp by being named Co-MVP. And right now BYU is on the list of possible destinations for the #1 prospect DE Robert Nkemdiche (who is highly unlikely to actually commit). Also, with the ESPN exposure that BYU is getting, many potential recruits are able to watch BYU almost every week.
Ten years ago, if you told football and basketball analysts that BYU would be getting as many top recruits as they have the past few years, they would have laughed in disbelief. I think people are starting to really take BYU athletics more seriously and realizing that they have a unique tradition and program.
Hopefully this Thursday BYU picks up two major victories. If BYU doesn’t get Jabari, at least Cougar fans can have the peace of mind knowing that we gave it our all. Despite multiple sources, including his father, saying that Michigan State and Duke are the most likely places, I still have hope he comes to the Y. I am really hoping, almost expecting Dave Rose to pull off the upset and shock the nation. When has he ever disappointed us fans? In all seriousness though, making the top five in this process is a big positive for the future, and a testament to the coaching staff and the job they do.
I highly doubt this will be the last time a huge name will be thinking about coming to BYU. And I know some will come. Hopefully it starts with Jabari. All the way from Chicago to Provo.