We mentioned this last week but our follow-up post got lost in the UConn-Rutgers rematch shuffle: The Huskies basketball team remains in the mix for one of the nation's best players, Jabari Parker. New coach Kevin Ollie met with Parker and his family in Chicago last week and by all accounts the get-together was a rousing success.
Of course, coaches routinely leave such meet-and-greets with warm and fuzzy feelings only to see their prized recruit sign somewhere else. It's the nature of the business, one that's as much about the actual Xs and Os as it is about salesmanship.
Parker, who plans to make official visits to Duke and Michigan State in the coming weeks and announce his plans for next year in November, made an exception for UConn and Ollie as the only school not on Parker's original list of potential destinations to make an in-home visit.
"It was a great home visit," said Sonny Parker via ESPNChicago.com, Jabari's father and a former NBA player. "Kevin Ollie, him being a former player, being in the NBA, now the coach at UConn, they have a great program. Jabari chose to have UConn come in."
That certainly bodes well for a program currently on probation and in rebuilding mode. Then again, we all had thoughts of back-to-back titles 12 months ago, shortly after Jim Calhoun announced he was returning to the bench to coach last year's top recruit, Andre Drummond. Mediocrity and disappointment ensued and a lot has changed over a relatively short span.
But let's not get too far ahead of ourselves here. North Carolina's Roy Williams and Florida's Billy Donovan also paid Parker a visit this week, adding two pretty big names to an already crowded field. Plus, as the Hartford Courant's Dom Amore pointed out, the fact that Parker plans to announce his intentions in November could hurt Ollie's chances since his contract is set to expire in April. Whatever happens -- and the odds are long on Parker ending up in Storrs -- we're guessing UConn will be back in the national conversation sooner rather than later. And Ollie will likely have a lot to do with that.