With local products and AAU teammates Kasey Hill (Eustis, Fla./Montverde Academy) and Chris Walker (Bonifay, Fla./Holmes County) already on board, the Gators have one of the best point guards and power forwards in the country heading to Gainesville next year.
This weekend, the rich will look to get richer as the Gators host No. 2 senior Jabari Parker (Chicago/Simeon) officially and No. 9 junior Justise Winslow (Houston/Saint John’s) unofficially.
Jabari Parker is ranked No. 2 overall in the 2013 class.
Parker, of course, long held the title of the best overall prospect nationally in the Class of 2013 until Andrew Wiggins (Thornhill, Ontario/Huntington Prep) recently reclassified. This will be Parker's third official visit after seeing Michigan State and Duke the last two weekends.
While Parker’s trip to Duke reportedly made a big impression on him, there's a lot to like about what Florida has to offer. The skilled 6-foot-8 forward would fit in nicely with Hill’s ability to attack off the dribble and Walker’s high-wire act around the rim. The combination of Walker and Parker would be particularly intriguing along the Florida frontline because they would give Donovan the versatility to go with a big lineup -- playing them at the four and three, respectively -- or go small with them at the five and the four.
The fact that Parker could very easily be a one-and-done lottery pick isn’t lost on anyone, most of all the staff at Florida, and that’s why they have no problem bringing in Parker and Winslow on the same weekend. Winslow is rated the No. 2 small forward prospect in the ESPN 60.
Assuming Parker will already be in the NBA two years from now, Winslow would have every opportunity to step into the starting spot. If Parker remained in Gainesville, that’s where the versatility of a Parker/Walker frontline would be crucial as it would allow all three talented youngsters to play together in Florida’s frontcourt -- a point that undoubtedly will come up at some point this weekend.
Regardless of how well this weekend may go for Florida, there is no expectation of a commitment in the next 48 hours. This is Winslow’s latest unofficial visit after taking recent trips to Baylor, Arizona and UCLA while previously seeing Kansas, North Carolina, Stanford, Texas A&M and South Florida.
As for Parker, he appears poised to play this process out. He’ll take his fourth official visit (to Stanford) next weekend before making his final trip to BYU later this month. The possibility also exists that Parker could delay college by two years -- or bypass it altogether -- if he elects to take his Mormon mission following his high school graduation, after which he would then be eligible to go straight to the NBA draft according to the collective bargaining agreement.
But even without the likelihood of a commitment, there's no doubt this is a big weekend for Florida hoops.