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Why Jabari Parker may never set foot on a college court

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On Saturday, Thomas S. Monson — the President of the Church of Latter Day Saints — announced that the age for full-time missionary service has been lowered for both men and women.

The new requirement for men is that they be 18 years old if they are a high school graduate, a change that could end up having a massive effect on the college hoops landscape.

The biggest reason is the Class of 2013’s most intriguing recruit: Jabari Parker.

It’s no secret that Parker is a Mormon. That’s why BYU was able to find a place in Parker’s recently released list of top five schools while Kentucky — who we’ve been told can get any recruit that they want — wasn’t. The way that the system was previously set up allowed for athletes — and Mormon college students in general — to go to school for a year before heading off on their two-year mission.

But with the lowered age-requirements, that year in college is no longer required. Top 50 recruit and BYU commit Nick Emery, the high-scoring little brother of former BYU star Jackson Emery, has already made clear his desire to go on a mission directly out of high school:

What if Parker follows the same path?

NBA rules stipulate that a prospect has to be one year out of high school to enter the NBA Draft, but that one year doesn’t have to be spent in college. If Parker goes on his two-year mission directly out of high school, would he go straight into the league afterwards?

Parker hasn’t announced whether or not he intends to go on a mission, which would be a major interruption in his hoops career, but given how devout he is as a Mormon, it’s a legitimate possibility.

This rule change will also have a major effect on how BYU, as well as other schools in the state of Utah that rely on Mormon athletes, recruit. Emery won’t don a BYU jersey until the 2015-2016 season. That’s a long way down the road.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament chances take a major blow in loss to No. 16 SMU

SMU guard Nic Moore (11) shoots over Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
(AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
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Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.

The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.

It wasn’t pretty.

And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.

Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.

The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.

But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.

POSTERIZED: Cal’s Jaylen Brown has his dunk contest entry

California's Jaylen Brown lays up a shot against Oregon State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: