Jabari Parker

BYU fans print ‘Chicago to Provo’ T-shirts in anticipation of Jabari Parker visit


BYU fans want top recruit Jabari Parker to be a Cougar. Badly.

That’s why, when BYU tips off against Cal State Northridge on Saturday night, a game Parker is expected to be in attendance for, 6,300 fans will be sporting T-shirts that read “Chicago to Provo”.

The T-shirts are a reference to Parker’s hometown and BYU’s Utah home, accompanied by an illustration of the Chicago skyline fading into the mountains.

The funding for the idea was the work of a website called CougarBoard.com and helped by the work of two BYU fans, Greg Welch and Tony Brown.

“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?’ ” Welch told ESPNChicago.com. ” ‘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.”

Parker is also considering Stanford, Florida, Michigan State, and Duke. He received an equally unique welcome when he visited Duke last month, when fans spray-painted “Jabari, Welcome Home” on a bed sheet and hung it on campus.

The Cougars, though from a smaller program, are in an interesting situation for Parker, as his father explained to ESPNChicago.com.

“Remember he belongs to the Church of Latter-Day Saints,” he 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.”

Parker is expected to make his decision in the coming months.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Rutgers hoping new duo can bring a spark

of the Ohio State Buckeyes against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights during their Big Ten conference game at Rutgers Athletic Center on February 8, 2015 in Piscataway, New Jersey.
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Rutgers has struggled to achieve success on the floor the last few years and head coach Eddie Jordan is hoping that some talented newcomers can help start a turnaround. With the start of practice, local media saw some of the Scarlet Knights’ early practice and Jerry Carino of the Asbury Park Press noted that the duo of freshman point guard Corey Sanders and junior college forward Deshawn Freeman were getting a lot of burn together.

With both incoming players being four-star prospects, it’s hardly a surprise that Jordan would see what the two were capable of. According to Carino, it meant a lot of Sanders driving and forcing the defense to collapse before finding Freeman.

“It seems like coach always has us on the same team,” Freeman said to Carino. “Ever since we’ve gotten here, he’s trying to get us to play together.”

Carino also notes that since Rutgers is deeper, longer and more athletic in general this season, the team could do more with a pressing defense to help create turnovers.

While Rutgers still faces an uphill climb in the Big Ten, they at least have some exciting pieces that will be in place for a few seasons.

LSU looking into starting lineup options

FAYETTEVILLE, AR - MARCH 7:  Head Coach Johnny Jones of the LSU Tigers watches his team play during a game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Bud Walton Arena on March 7, 2015 in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  The Tigers defeated the Razorbacks 81-78.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
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LSU football and Leonard Fournette are off to a strong start this fall, but the beginning of October also means that college hoops is right around the corner. If you’re a Tigers basketball fan, you also have plenty to be excited about on the hardwood this season with the arrival of a loaded freshman class headlined by forward Ben Simmons.

While the versatile Simmons has solidified a spot in the starting lineup for next season, it’ll be interesting to see how head coach Johnny Jones uses the rest of his talented freshmen. In a story from Sheldon Mickles of the New Orleans Advocate, he looks into some potential LSU starting lineups.

Freshman guard Antonio Blakeney, a McDonald’s All-American with Simmons, is also expected to start, but does another talented freshman guard, Brandon Sampson get a shot to start? And what of Arizona transfer Craig Victor when he’s eligible to play in December?

Mickles believes the early favorite for starting lineup is guards Tim Quarterman, Keith Hornsby, Blakeney, Simmons and center Darcy Malone. When Victor returns, Mickles said Victor could push Simmons into the “center” position, which would be a matchup nightmare on the opposition because Simmons would be very tough for many college centers to defend.

Sampson also gets a mention from Mickles of having the potential to start down the line. Overall, a good problem to have for Jones and he’ll have to experiment to see which lineups are giving him the most. Having a productive starting five is nice, but I’m sure Jones would love to find the five players he wants to close with.