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Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Nation's top college coaches coming to Simeon

By Scott Powers

It’s got to be one heck of a high school open gym if there’s a hospitality room beforehand.

Simeon plans to pull out all the stops on Tuesday when it hosts nearly every top college men’s basketball coach in the country for its first open gym during the September recruiting period.

Expected to be in attendance are coaches from Arizona, Connecticut, DePaul, Duke, Illinois, Kansas, Marquette, North Carolina, Ohio State, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Villanova, UCLA and Washington, among others. Duke alone is supposed to be coming with three coaches.

“You name them, they’ll be here,” said Simeon coach Robert Smith, who has won back-to-back Class 4A state championships. “It’s going to be crazy.”

Junior forward Jabari Parker is the main attraction. Parker is considered the No. 1 Class of 2013 player in the country by ESPN.

Smith thinks Parker’s recruitment might become more intense than when colleges were trying to sway Derrick Rose from the same high school gym on Chicago’s South Side.

“He’s probably getting more attention,” Smith said. “Of course, Derrick had a lot. Every high-major is recruiting him. Jabari is a different kid. He’s almost that LeBron James type of kid now. He’s 6-9 kid who can play all five positions and can just dominate the game.”

Parker isn’t the only Simeon player bringing coaches into town. Junior point guard Jaylon Tate is considered a high-major point guard and recently received an offer from DePaul. Junior forward Kendall Pollard is starting to get a lot of attention and freshman Dennis Williams, a 6-5 wing, is also expected to be another highly-recruited player.

A couple of coaches will also make the rounds to Simeon to make sure their committed players feel loved. Junior guard Kendrick Nunn is committed to Texas A&M, and senior forward Steve Taylor is committed to Marquette.

So many college coaches have been calling Simeon that Smith has even delegated that sole responsibility to one of his assistants.

“I don’t do the phone thing,” Smith said. “It would be a big distraction for me.”