The basketball future of Chicago Simeon Career Academy forward Jabari Parker, the nation's No. 1-ranked senior, could be affected by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' recent decision to lower the age minimum for men to serve a mission, his father said Monday.
Church president Thomas S. Monson announced Saturday at the 182nd Semiannual General Conference that Mormon men who have graduated from high school may go on their two-year missions at 18 rather than the previous age of 19.
"I am not suggesting that all young men will -- or should -- serve at this earlier age," Monson said. "Rather, based on individual circumstances, as well as upon a determination by priesthood leaders, this option is now available. ... We affirm that missionary work is a priesthood duty -- and we encourage all young men who are worthy and who are physically able and mentally capable, to respond to the call to serve."
Parker, who is Mormon and will turn 18 in March, had planned on attending college for at least one year, then deciding whether to go on a mission or enter the NBA draft. Parker told Sports Illustrated he was torn between heading on a mission and his dream of playing in the NBA.