With scholarship inflexibility, Izzo wisely rolled the dice on a multi-dimensional super-recruit whom the program had a very real chance of landing. Parker was precisely the recruit capable of catapulting Michigan State’s national championship prospects. With him, the Spartans have the look of a paper tiger, finally in possession of the requisite star power necessary to compete for a title. Without him, Sparty is a solid team of really good players sans that indispensable superstar (i.e., this year’s team). Nothing more.
Michigan State will put out a really solid team again next season, especially if Dawson and Appling return while freshmen Gary Harris and Denzel Valentine continue their progressions. But the Spartans have missed out on their chance to become great, and it doesn’t seem like they’ll get another any time soon. With only Gavin Schilling, a second-rate prospect, and Tony Farmer, a fallback option who may get a closer look now with Parker off the board, left on the coaching staff’s radar, the opportunity to add that final piece to the puzzle next season has all but slipped away.
Adreian Payne is what he is. Appling, though a potent scorer, has never jibed as a point guard. Harris is a blossoming star, with a way’s yet to go and Dawson, an ideal glue guy, is not cut out to be the primary, frontcourt scoring option as he’ll have to be next season.
To Michigan State, Jabari Parker represented the domino that enabled all the others to fall into place. Too bad for Sparty then that the Chicago phenom is setting off a chain reaction in Durham instead.
As bare as Tom Izzo’s recruiting cupboard is for 2013, his team’s championship hopes for next season—which once appeared favorable with Parker realistically in the fold—are even bleaker.