Die-Hard BYU Basketball Fans Try to Recruit Jabari Parker
Two die-hard BYU basketball fans are doing some recruiting of their own, printing 6,300 t-shirts with a message for prized prospect Jabari Parker, who is expected to attend the Cougars' game against Cal State Northridge.
Parker, Chicago Simeon Career Academy's senior forward ranked No. 2 in the nation, made his official visit to BYU Friday and is expected to watch the Cougars' game Saturday.
In anticipation of Parker's visit, Greg Welch and Tony Brown printed shirts with the message "Chicago to Provo" with images of Chicago's skyline and Provo's Mount Timpanogos.
Two diehard BYU basketball fans have printed 6,300 T-shirts to be handed out before the Cougars' game Saturday with a message for highly ranked, who is expected to be in attendance.
Aside from BYU, Parker is also considering Duke, Florida, Michigan State and Stanford. He is expected to commit in December or January.
"I have a Twitter account, a few blogs like any crazy fan has these days, and the community I'm involved with thought, 'What can we do to roll out the red carpet for him?'" said Welch, who attended BYU and now lives in Iowa.
"'What can we do to add to the excitement when he is here? Our goal is for there to be electricity in the building and (Saturday) night is a special environment," Welch added.
Welch said he never expected to receive enough donations to have 6,000-plus shirts made to welcome Parker. He, however, refused to reveal the exact amount he raised from donations.
"I thought we would have a hundred of the shirts," said Welch, who will be handing out T-shirts from a U-Haul truck on private property across from BYU's Marriott Center. "The way the Internet and social media works these days, if something catches fire, you don't know where it's going."
Parker's father, Sonny Parker, said BYU has a legitimate shot at acquiring his son, not just because he's a Mormon but he was also impressed with the university's performance in the past.
"Remember he belongs to the Church of Latter-Day Saints," Sonny said. "They got one of the winningest programs in the last 4-5 years if you look at their record. They average 25 wins a year. They don't get the recognition of others. Their conference isn't that bad. Remember they had the player of the year in Jimmer Fredette. They have a real good program."
As a junior, Parker averaged 19.5 points, 8.9 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 3.3 blocks and 1.4 steals a game.
Parker was the No. 1-ranked player until Andrew Wiggins reclassified recently from the Class of 2014 to the Class of 2013.
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