There is not enough room on one page, or even ten pages for that matter, to give enough praise to Chicago native Jabari Parker. We can talk about his 6-foot-9 220 pound frame, his 3.7 GPA, the fact that he serves water to the Jr. Varsity squad while his teammates are celebrating and talking with girls or we can even mention that he is a Mormon (1.7% of the US population are Mormons and just 3% of them are African American).
As much as basketball is a part of Parkers life, so is his faith. He has led Simeon Career Academy to three state championships in three years but is still one of the most humble kids around. Among standing offers from some of the best schools in the nation (Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, Ohio State, North Carolina, and Michigan State, just to name a few), some may snicker when they see Illinois. Maybe they’ll eat those Snickers when they hear that Illinois has been Jabari’s dream school since he was a kid.
Now, the fans of the Illini are dreaming that he still feels that way. Parker is considered the best high school basketball player since LeBron James. Parker, who will be a senior this fall, is scheduled to make his decision sometime this November.
He would turn the program into an immediate contender and a lethal opponent from game to game. He is an electric scorer and a fierce competitor, but almost a guaranteed one and done. Regardless, he would draw a ridiculous amount of press and attention to a team that has somewhat fallen off the map.
Last years team started out red hot winning ten games in a row and somehow came up short by missing the tournament. Many are concerned on whether or not new head coach John Groce will be able to produce a winning season.
He’s already doing work off the court and just got a commitment from a 6-foot-10 center Maverick Morgan, who is the 15th ranked big man on Rivals. He will be huge, literally and figuratively, considering the loss of Meyers Leonard to the NBA. Morgan is an Ohio native and can someone remind me where Groce coached last year? He joins 6-foot-5 shooting guard Malcom Hill (an ESPN 100 recruit) out of Belleville East (IL) as the second recruit in the 2013 class. If Groce can somehow pull Parker out of his hat and add him to this class, Assembly Hall may explode.
An interesting anecdote on Parker is that when a Mormon turns 19, they are supposed to take a two-year mission for the church to spread the beliefs around the US or a different country. During this mission, the individual does not work, take college courses or anything other than promote the church. This would take place right after Parker’s freshman year. Steve Young and Danny Ainge, both Mormons, elected not to take the trip and underwent successful professional careers. Lets work on landing Jabari Parker first and worry about what he does later, well, later.
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