In a sense, Kevin Ollie already has his first victory as UConn’s head coach, though he probably would not think in those terms. He’s in the Jabari Parker sweepstakes to win – it’s the only way he knows.
But there are times, especially when you look back, that just getting in the game is a victory and this is one. For UConn to be re-invited to the Jabari Party, with Ollie heading to Chicago for an in-home visit next week, as first reported by ESPN Chicago, is evidence that the post-Calhoun Huskies are still players on the biggest stages. There’s no reason to fear irrelevance.
The 10 schools Parker listed in July: Brigham Young, DePaul, Duke, Florida, Georgetown, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan State North Carolina and Stanford.
Tom Izzo and Coach K were set to visit the Parkers this week. With that kind of competition, it would be wise not to get hopes too high, but the fact that Ollie has managed to get UConn into this game, as first reported by ESPN Chicago, is significant. If Parker is planning to wait until spring to make his choice, UConn’s chances could get better. Ollie’s long-term future will be known by then.
UConn’s entry into the Parker mix made headlines across the country. Here are a couple of links:
Parker plays it close to the vest. The Chicago Tribune quotes Robert Smith, Parker’s coach at Simeon, as saying Parker “doesn’t tell anybody anything.”
Jabari is a Mormon who is considering a mission, which is why BYU figures prominently. Here’s a profile piece from the ABC News website, based on his interview with Katie Couric. From this picture of Parker, you might sense that there’s a chance he and Ollie will connect.
Here’s our story from the main website and the print edition.
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