MSU men’s basketball: Less than 2 hours until Jabari’s joy or jilt hits Izzo

Tom Izzo has significant mission this afternoon, and it doesn’t involve Jabari Parker.

The MSU coach will be in Flint visiting with Herb Cleaves, whom he said had “a serious surgery.”

“He’s been here for me whenever I needed him,” Izzo said of the elder Cleaves. “Whatever time I get back, I get back.”

The target time is 4 p.m. It would put Izzo in front of the TV in time to watch Parker – one of the nation’s top high school seniors and Izzo’s biggest recruit since Mateen Cleaves back in 1996 – announce his college choice on ESPNU.

Izzo can’t talk about specific recruits until they sign their letter of intent, which Parker can’t do until the spring. But the coach alluded to the matter early Thursday afternoon.

“As we all know, there’s a decision to be made,” Izzo said. “But if I’m sitting front of a TV set, sitting at a church or sitting in a van, it’s not gonna make any difference on what decisions are made today.”

Cleaves’ decision was MSU over Michigan, thus shifting the in-state power balance to the Spartans for about 15 years. And there certainly are parallels between the type of program-changers that Cleaves was and Parker is. However, it’s because of Cleaves that wherever Parker goes – his five finalists are MSU, Duke, BYU, Florida or Stanford – it won’t be as damaging if the 6-foot-8 Chicago Simeon forward picks somewhere else.

“You need the best players to get your program to where you want. But the program’s gonna go on now, the base is pretty solid and set. That’s one thing,” Izzo said. “Back then (in 1996), you were getting a recruit to build your program. Now, I think you’re looking to get recruits to extend your program. It’s a little different in that respect.”

Izzo said he doesn’t care if recruits do or don’t call him with their decision before making an official announcement. Parker and his family and close friends have kept his leanings super secret, though most expect it to come down to MSU and Duke. Izzo and assistant Dwayne Stephens were the last coaches to visit with Parker on Wednesday, and they made a favorable impression – at least on his high school coach.

And there is no question that Parker has left an impression with Izzo and all the coaches who’ve seen him play.

“As Jud said to me, Magic was Magic and Cleaves was Cleaves – they were 20 years apart. Draymond the next,” Izzo said. “Usually there are certain players that don’t come along every year, either for what they have the ability to do or how they have the ability to lead.”

Izzo also added that he does plan to get a recruit for the open 2013 scholarship spot. We’ll all find out in less than two hours if that player is Jabari Parker.

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20 Responses to MSU men’s basketball: Less than 2 hours until Jabari’s joy or jilt hits Izzo

  1. avatar Spartan 81 says:

    Hail Mary full of Grace.

    • avatar Stevie G says:

      You are going to need a lot more than a Hail Mary. Rosaries, Masses and Novena’s–and you will still come up short. Not a chance.

  2. avatar Spartan 81 says:

    Says a lot about the man that he would go to visit Matteens father right now.

  3. avatar Spartan 81 says:

    Thats ok Joe, thought for a moment you had decided to send early stories and go all Mitch Albom on us today.

  4. avatar superstate says:

    Reminds me of the hype that happen back in the days with Magic. Same scenario, except it was U of M or MSU. I think we can all recall which way it went. Now, back to reality, it will be MSU over Duke. That is my gut feeling and I had the same gut feeling when Magic won the NCAA with the big win over Notre Dame to advance. Finally, Coach Izzo, what a class act – saw him at the Alumni game – the players all came back for him and the University!

  5. avatar Chris Solari says:

    It was a technical glitch from our web publishing program. Dewey defeats Truman, it’s not. Sorry for the panic.

  6. avatar Chris Solari says:

    Jabari Parker chooses Duke University over MSU, BYU, Florida and Stanford.

  7. avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:


  8. avatar headeast says:


  9. avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

    Now, if we go back to what he said when he announced this announcement, he said this wasn’t signing day.

  10. avatar SpartanMan says:

    Would it be petty and/or asking too much that this foot injury plagues him at Duke like so many highly touted MSU recruits who have suffered years of never living up to their high school hype? I hate to be spiteful, but can’t help feeling this is a bad choice for the kid. He would have had a much better fit at MSU. Duke loses way more than MSU next year and this kid is going to have a lot of pressure immediately to be the star. Maybe that works better under Coach K. Izzo will find another piece to the puzzle and will find a way to get that success next year, either way. Hopefully, beating Duke at least once along the way…

    • avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

      I’m sure there is a plan B, the turnover machine he was in the game in Tx didn’t have anything to do with his foot. He was the 4th or 5th best player on that court. Grated he’s got 10 months to heal and get in shape, but maybe he announced now because he’s afraid this season is a bust and that people would lose interest. We know what busted ankles are like to shooters, how about slashers?

  11. avatar hatrack says:

    My view is that maybe this Parker kid wasn’t who we thought he was. Have fun bein’ a Dukie, maybe we’ll see you in the Final Four next year, if you’re lucky.

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