- Scott Powers, Reporter
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Parker became the first underclassman to win the award. He earned 74 first-place votes out of 93 ballots, according to the Chicago Tribune, which conducts the voting. He finished with 400 points.
Bolingbrook senior Morgan Tuck finished with 287 points and was followed by Niles West’s Jewell Loyd (159 points).
Since the Mr. Basketball award’s inception in 1981, there had been no previous underclassmen voted for the honor.
“That’s huge,” Simeon coach Robert Smith said. “It just shows how hard (Parker’s) been working as a player. People always ask about his stats. I think Jabari only averaged 13 shots a game. That’s not a lot of shots for the No. 1 player in the country.
“He wants to be when it’s all said and done that he was possibly the best ever to come out of Chicago, the state of Illinois. He doesn’t talk about accolades a lot, but I know that’s part of the goals he’d like to accomplish for himself.”
Parker averaged 19.5 points, 8.9 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 3.3 blocks and 1.4 steals this past season. He helped the Wolverines to their third consecutive Class 4A state title. He also was named Gatorade’s Illinois Player of the Year earlier in the week.
Other former Illinois Mr. Basketball winners from Simeon include Derrick Rose, Deon Thomas and Nick Anderson.
“It just shows how well our program has done and how well it’s been for awhile,” Smith said. “He’s just keeping it going.”
East Aurora’s Ryan Boatright, who is now at Connecticut, and Rock Island’s Chasson Randle, who is at Stanford, shared the award last year. There were 142 ballots cast last season.
Bolingbrook’s Ariel Massengale, who is now at Tennessee, won Ms. Basketball last season. Tucker finished second last season.