While BYU's basketball coaching staff spent the weekend in New Orleans at the Final Four, the best high school basketball player in the country who happens to be a member of the same institution that sponsors BYU, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints spent the weekend in Provo and Salt Lake City. Jabari Parker, the 6-foot-7 phenom from Chicago, spent much of his time in Utah hanging out with his cousin, former BYU running back Harvey Unga. BYU football player Uani Unga, a transfer from Oregon State, is also related to Parker.
On Friday, Parker went to a Provo business called Qualtrics to have lunch with employees there (along with Unga and others) and played some pickup basketball at the Richards Building on BYU's campus. On Sunday, he attended the LDS Church's General Conference in Salt Lake City and tweeted out a photo from inside the conference center. Parker also spent some time with his brother, Christian Parker, and the pair recorded a lengthy radio interview on this blog site. Christian Parker played at College of Southern Idaho and was a student at BYU-Hawaii. BYU coaches are still recruiting Jabari Parker, along with coaches from the top programs in the country such as Duke, Kentucky and North Carolina. Jabari is also interested in Washington. His father, former NBA player Sonny Parker, recently told a newspaper that Illinois is still in the running for Jabari despite its recent coaching change, but that time is running out for the Illini. Sounds like Jabari, a junior, wants to trim down his list to a half-dozen or fewer some time this spring. Does BYU have a chance? A few months ago, a person with close ties to the program told The Tribune that the staff won't give up until Parker has crossed BYU off his list entirely, but acknowledged that the chances are slim perhaps as slim as five percent.