… A ridiculously and astronomically important bowl game in Tempe, Ariz., next week!
OK. Can’t sell that.
As for what’s next for Michigan State basketball, Jabari Parker’s decision to attend Duke isn’t program-crippling, just temporarily spirit-crushing.
Nor was Tom Izzo’s pursuit of Parker a waste of time. The inroads he’s made in Chicago, which is pumping out serious talent these days, may still pay off. (More on that in Friday’s LSJ column.)
There isn’t another Parker out there. Short of that, what MSU needs in its 2013 class is a drop-dead, confident and healthy outside shooter. Sort of what it hoped it had in Russell Byrd.
If this is about next year’s national championship, which is the only year in which Parker probably would have been around, MSU is essentially looking to add a piece to a team that returns everyone but Derrick Nix.
The Spartans have plenty of bigs. Good wings. Great guards. But no one that scares defenses beyond the arc and helps to spread out those defenses for what is otherwise sensational athleticism.
As for Parker’s decision, the strangest bit is that he mentioned not wanting to mess up Branden Dawson’s career as the primary reason he didn’t choose the Spartans.
Those two could’ve easily played together in a lineup that also would have featured Keith Appling, Gary Harris and Adreian Payne. That’s an unbelievable group.
I wonder now about the conversations between Dawson and Parker on Parker’s recruiting visit.
I wonder why no one told Parker that he and Dawson would and could be a tandem? Maybe someone did.
And I wonder about Dawson moving forward, how fans will treat him. Hopefully there’s no ill will. And hopefully, next year, we get to see Dawson and Parker match up against each other.
ACC/Big Ten Challenge at Breslin, anyone?
Tough day for the Spartans. But nothing like when Chris Webber chose Michigan. And not as bad as if Magic or Mateen Cleaves said no.
If Cleaves had gone elsewhere, we wouldn’t even be having this discussion. Parker probably wouldn’t know what town Michigan State is in and Izzo would no longer be the coach, probably by a decade or more.