Early July is always a busy time for college basketball.
This year is no different.
Let's do Five for the Weekend
1. So how's it been spending the July evaluation period with Tom Izzo?
|Tom Izzo is a pretty normal guy, but to him, sleep might be overrated. (Getty Images)|
2. Who's the best prospect you've seen?
Jabari Parker -- a 6-foot-7 wing from Chicago who is, in my opinion, the nation's best high school prospect even though he's only going to be a junior next season. Yes, Class of 2012 standout Shabazz Muhammad is special, and the elite bigs in 2012 -- Andre Drummond, Isaiah Austin and Dajuan Coleman -- are all interesting. But you give me a No. 1 pick and tell me to take the prospect with the best NBA future, I'm taking the clear star of the Class of 2013. Parker has great size for his position. He can handle the ball, drive, shoot, see the floor, everything, and I'm told there are no character issues, either. Parker isn't perfect, obviously; he's just a kid. But all the important stuff is there. For those into 2014 mock drafts, make sure to put him No. 1.
3. Where will Parker attend college?
It's way too early to know that answer. But Illinois, Michigan State, Duke, Ohio State, Florida, Washington, Kentucky, Kansas and all the usual suspects will be involved. They'll recruit Parker for years in hopes of getting him for a few months. When put like that, it sounds kind of silly. But he'll be worth it. Trust me, he'll be worth it.
4. Former Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl said he'll get another chance to coach college basketball. Do you believe him?
Though Pearl is currently labeled as a cheater and liar by most, over time the story will change and people will start to explain how "all he did was have a few kids over for a cookout, then panic and lie about it when confronted by the NCAA. No big deal in the grand scheme of things." Then some football school with no basketball tradition will look at Pearl's career record and recognize that he never loses. Then that school will offer him $1.2 million to take over its program, at which point Pearl will take the job and be back in the NCAA tournament within three years. So, yes, I believe him. Pearl might've lied about having prospects at his home illegally, but he's not lying here.
5. Sad news about former TCU coach Neil Dougherty, huh?
It's really sad. I got to know Neil when he was at TCU and I was covering Memphis for The Commercial Appeal because both schools were, at the time, in Conference USA. He was a decent man with a nice smile, someone who had transitioned out of coaching and was now working for Ihoops -- a joint venture between the NBA and NCAA that promotes youth basketball initiatives. Neil was only 50 years old. But now he's dead. The sport lost Skip Prosser too early four years ago during this month. This feels similar.