Monday, March 25, 2013
Jabari Parker repeats as Mr. Basketball
By Scott Powers
Simeon's Jabari Parker was named Illinois Mr. Basketball for the second straight year.
Simeon senior forward Jabari Parker was announced as the first two-time Illinois Mr. Basketball winner on Monday.
Parker, a Duke recruit, won the award, which is voted on by statewide media and schools, with 315 points and 43 first-place votes, the Chicago Tribune announced on Monday. Parker was the first non-senior to win the award last season.
“It means a lot,” Parker said on Monday. “I worked extremely hard to get back (from my foot injury) and help my team the best I could. I don’t care about the individual awards, but it’s a reflection on my team. Having somebody from Simeon win it again means a lot.”
Whitney Young junior center Jahlil Okafor finished second in voting with 277 points and 40 first-place ballots. He was followed by Belleville East senior Malcolm Hill (99 points), Marian Catholic junior Tyler Ulis (73 points), Washington senior Alec Peters (22 points) and Curie junior Cliff Alexander (22).
Parker averaged 18.4 points, 10.4 rebounds and 2.7 assists this season while helping Simeon to its fourth consecutive state championship. He also recently won the Morgan Wootten national player of the year award and Gatorade’s Illinois player of the year.
As a junior, Parker was also named the Team USA basketball 2011 Male Athlete of the Year, the Gatorade national player of the year and ESPNChicago.com’s player of the year.
“There have been some great players here in Illinois, and there were great players when I played and there are now,” said Parker’s father Sonny Parker, who played in the NBA. “He’s done more and accomplished more as an individual and with his team than anybody who played high school basketball in the state of Illinois. There has been some great talent.”
Parker, who is ranked No. 2 in the Class of 2013 by ESPN, joins DeSoto (TX) shooting guard Matt Jones and Ottawa (KS) small forward Semi Ojeleye in Duke’s recruiting class, which is ranked No. 5 by ESPN.
While Kentucky has ESPN’s No. 1-ranked class and is expected to be a favorite to win the national championship next season, Parker said it’s too early to crown the Wildcats.
“I think it’s fair (Kentucky’s getting the attention); they’re getting a lot of players, but that sometimes doesn’t bring about victories,” Parker said. “I know we have a lot of players coming back. Coach K will have us ready.”