- Scott Powers, ESPN Staff Writer
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Simeon’s Jabari Parker, the nation’s No. 1 junior, said Tuesday he was sad to see Bruce Weber fired at Illinois, but he would still consider the Illini.
“I was very disappointed,” Parker said after Simeon advanced to the state semifinals Tuesday. “That was a person who first recruited me growing up. I feel like if the [new] coach there tried to recruit me they wouldn’t have a better relationship than [Weber] had. That really plays a key.”
Despite his relationship with Weber, Parker said he would still consider Illinois with a new coach because it’s an in-state school.
“They’ll still be in the mix because what we haven’t been looking at is making our own state good,” Parker said. “A lot of players they leave to go to these Kentucky’s and Duke’s, but they don’t see the state and representing the area they’re from.”
DePaul, Illinois and Northwestern are all recruiting Parker. DePaul coach Oliver Purnell and Illinois interim head coach Jerrance Howard were in attendance at Chicago State on Tuesday. Northwestern played in the NIT on Tuesday.
Parker said he would like to stay in state, but he couldn’t guarantee that would happen.
“That’s important, but at the end of the day, I got to see where I’m going to be a good player at and what system holds me the best.”
Parker hasn’t concentrated on recruiting during the high school season as Simeon attempts to win its third consecutive state title, but he will begin to do so after the season is completed.
“This summer I’m going to narrow my choices down and really focus on the schools I’m going to visit,” Parker said.