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Why Jabari Parker may never set foot on a college court

Oct 8, 2012, 2:20 PM EDT

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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.

  1. teedraper - Oct 8, 2012 at 5:10 PM

    If he goes then he’s an idiot

  2. tigers182 - Oct 8, 2012 at 5:34 PM

    It shows a lot of character that he’s even considering ignoring all the peer pressure and following his beliefs.

  3. imforbigblue - Oct 8, 2012 at 5:48 PM

    You know how much money he will throw away if he does that. He’s good but if he doesn’t play ball for two years then trys to go into the NBA he will hurt himself

  4. philliesblow - Oct 8, 2012 at 9:59 PM

    Wonder if he’s voting for his fellow Mormon in November.

  5. kingghidora - Oct 9, 2012 at 10:16 AM

    Did it occur to you that UK is getting the recruit they want and Parker would have been playing second fiddle to the guy UK really wants? Wiggins may be that recruit. Maybe, just maybe Cal has information you don’t have or he just trusts his ability to get the players he wants or needs.

    So why is it every story has to be a hatchet job on UK anyway? I think they call it “obsession”.

  6. gmsalpha - Oct 10, 2012 at 8:05 AM

    Sorry for my ignorance, but if JP goes on his two year mission and then wants to play in the NBA, would he have to enter the draft? Or could he simply try out for a team of his choosing (Jazz)? It’d be great for him to land in Salt Lake City where he would be a bigger star than Malone or Stockton due to his faith.

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