High-SchoolIllinois: Jabari Parker

POWERADE hoops rankings: Final

March, 20, 2012
The question at the beginning of the season was simple. Everyone knew Simeon would start out at No. 1 in the POWERADE state rankings, but could the Wolverines hold off every challenger and finish the year on top? Against such a deep, talented field? With every team gunning for them?

The answer is yes. Simeon closed out a dominant season by beating Proviso East in the Class 4A state championship game to earn a third consecutive IHSA title. It wasn't the Wolverine's most dominant performance, as they had to overcome a fourth-quarter deficit, but there's no denying that this team was special. Simeon's only loss came to out-of-state Findlay Prep, the No. 2 team in the POWERADE FAB 50.

Proviso East suffered just one loss on the season, to Simeon in the finals, and so the Pirates slide in at No. 2. Peoria, which survived a loaded bracket to win the Class 3A title, ends the year at No. 3.

Looking forward to next year, you can go ahead and mark Simeon down for the top spot. With superstar forward Jabari Parker and guard Kendrick Nunn returning for their senior years, the Wolverines may even be stronger in 2012-13.

POWERADE State Basketball Rankings
  1. Simeon (33-1) — Last week: No. 1
  2. Proviso East (32-1) — Last week: No. 2
  3. Peoria (25-3) — Last week: NR
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala).

POWERADE hoops rankings: Week 12

February, 28, 2012
With the state playoffs beginning this week, the picture remains as clear as it has been all year. Simeon is locked in at No. 1, and the rest of the state is chasing the Wolverines. Junior forward Jabari Parker is pretty much a lock to win Gatorade State Player of the Year honors, and he makes Simeon the heavy favorite to remain atop the rankings through the end of the playoffs.

No. 2 Proviso East closed out an impressive undefeated regular season by handling Oak Park-River Forest and Marquette (Milwaukee, Wisc.), and No. 3 Curie is waiting to get another crack at Simeon after losing the regular-season meeting.

POWERADE State Basketball Rankings
  1. Simeon (26-1) — Last week: No. 1
  2. Proviso East (26-0) — Last week: No. 2
  3. Curie (24-2) — Last week: No. 3
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala)

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — There will likely be a new team atop the next POWERADE FAB 50 rankings after No. 1 Simeon (Chicago, Ill.) fell to No. 6 Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.), 75-50, at the Spalding Hoophall Classic on Monday.

Simeon never found its offense, frequently forcing bad shots and allowing Findlay to run out on the fast break after misses. For the game, Simeon shot just 4 of 24 on 3-point attempts (16.7 percent), while Findlay Prep shot 66.7 percent from downtown (61 percent overall).

Winston Shepard
J. Anthony Roberts/ESPNHSWinston Shepard finished with high-flying dunks all night against Simeon.
The game was also billed as a matchup of two of the country’s top players — Simeon junior Jabari Parker and Findlay Prep senior Brandon Ashley. Parker, the No. 1 player in the ESPNU 60, was solid with 24 points and 12 rebounds, but the smooth superstar felt he could have done more to stop Findlay from pulling away in the second half.

“I waited too long to get it going,” said Parker. “I didn’t do a lot of scoring in the third quarter. If I don’t show up, my team’s going to lose by a lot of points.”

Ashley, the No. 4 player in the ESPNU 100, posted 13 points and nine boards, including back-to-back dunks to seal the game in the fourth quarter. He also received more help from his teammates.

Findlay Prep junior guard Nigel Williams-Goss chipped in 18 points, and senior guard Dominic Artis (No. 72 in the ESPNU 100) earned Player of the Game honors with 21 points, eight assists and seven rebounds.

The 6-foot-2 Williams-Goss also drew plenty of attention with his defensive performance, even switching onto the 6-foot-8 Parker at times and doing a good job.

“Obviously, our focus was on [Simeon junior guard] Kendrick Nunn and Jabari Parker,” said Williams-Goss. “I took it personally, because I knew I’d have to defend both of them during the game.”

Williams-Goss also said that Findlay Prep felt it had something to prove at Hoophall.

“We had a slip-up earlier in the season with our loss to La Lumiere,” he said. “But it was motivation to us that Simeon was ranked No. 1. We feel we’re still the best team in the country. Being No. 1, that put a bull’s-eye on their back and we were coming for them.”

Findlay Prep’s victory was even more impressive considering that the team was without senior forward Anthony Bennett, the No. 7 player in the ESPNU 100. Bennett sat out the game with a hamstring injury.

Simeon dropped to 14-1 with the loss. The Wolverines have spent the entire season at No. 1 in the POWERADE FAB 50, but the blowout loss is likely to drop them at least several spots. Findlay Prep improved to 16-1 with the win.

There were plenty of top college coaches on hand, presumably to get a close look at Parker, who is still uncommitted. Among those in the crowd were Duke's Mike Krzyzewski and Kentucky's John Calipari.

After the game, Parker said he hasn’t formed any list of college favorites yet. “I’m wide open,” he said.

Mike Grimala covers high school sports for ESPNHS. Follow him on Twitter @ESPNHSGrimala or email him at michael.grimala@espn.com.

Hoophall preview: Spotlight on Nunn

January, 13, 2012
ESPNHS writer Ronnie Flores previews this weekend's Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Mass., with Five Burning Questions. Flores' top question concerns the No. 1 team in the country, Simeon.

From Flores' story:
Which team has the most to prove at Hoophall?
That would be POWERADE FAB 50 No. 1 Simeon (Chicago). The Wolverines do have some quality victories so far this season, but they haven't faced a team with the talent level and big-game experience of No. 6 Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.). Simeon beat local rival Whitney Young (Chicago), 62-55, on Dec. 22 and No. 34 Miller Grove (Lithonia, Ga.), 59-56, at the Cancer Research Classic, but it was expected to beat those teams. With Dominic Artis, Nigel Williams-Goss and Amedeo Della Valle, Findlay Prep will put tremendous pressure on Simeon's backcourt when the teams meet on Monday (ESPNU, 3 p.m. ET). Simeon junior guard Kendrick Nunn had 19 points against Miller Grove and we'll put Nunn's magic number at 24 in order for the Wolverines to win this game.

Now I don't know if I agree that Nunn has to score 24 points for Simeon to win — and don't get me wrong, he's definitely capable — but I think Simeon is balanced enough to win this game without any single player going off. Sure, it would be great if junior forward Jabari Parker had a great game, but Simeon isn't a one-man team... or even a two-man team.

My prediction: Simeon gets 16-20 points from both Nunn and Parker, with senior forward Steve Taylor chipping in his usual 12 or so, and the Wolverines win their biggest game so far this season.

To read Flores' complete story, click here.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala).
It was close, but Simeon was able to defeat Miller Grove (Ga.), 59-56, in the Cancer Research Classic to stay undefeated on the season. Junior forward Jabari Parker and junior guard Kendrick Nunn were instrumental in the victory, combining for 38 points.

Besides Simeon staying perfect, the biggest story in this week's POWERADE state rankings might be the fall of Bloom. The Trojans entered last week 13-0 and at No. 3 in the rankings, but back-to-back losses to Rich South and Bogan dropped Bloom out of the Top 10.

POWERADE State Basketball Rankings
  1. Simeon (13-0) — Last week: No. 1
  2. Proviso East (13-0) — Last week: No. 2
  3. Andrew (10-0) — Last week: No. 4
Click here for complete POWERADE state rankings.
Stock Watch was tuned into the ESPN network on Saturday night, as the Simeon and Whitney Young basketball teams played televised games in the Cancer Research Classic. Both of their opponents were nationally ranked, but a pair of players helped their stock with impressive performances.


UP — Kendrick Nunn, Simeon
Junior forward Jabari Parker may have been the star, but Simeon wouldn't have won without Nunn's contributions. The junior guard gave the Wolverines an infusion of perimeter scoring, posting 19 points and five rebounds in a 59-56 win over Miller Grove (Ga.). Nunn kept Simeon ahead when Parker cooled off in the second half, and he was clutch down the stretch — Nunn calmly drilled a pair of free throws to give Simeon its three-point lead with less than 10 seconds to play.

UP — Jahlil Okafor, Whitney Young
Okafor isn't under the radar by any means — he's currently the No. 3 player in the ESPNU 25. But the sophomore big man showed why he's such a great prospect, posting up and scoring at will against Gonzaga Prep. Though Whitney Young lost the game, 55-44, Okafor finished with 16 points and seven rebounds. Just a sophomore, expect the 6-foot-9 center's stock to continue rising in the coming years.

Have a hot stock tip? Hit me on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala) and tell me about it.

Simeon pulls out squeaker over Miller Grove

January, 8, 2012

WHEELING, W.Va. -- Jabari Parker couldn’t have cared less about Miller Grove’s (Lithonia, Ga.) recent shortcomings.

Sure, he was aware that just 23 days ago Miller Grove was ranked No. 2 in the POWERADE FAB 50 and, yeah, he’d heard about Miller Grove's four-game losing streak. But the only thing Parker was concerned with was making certain he and his top-ranked Simeon (Chicago) squad extended that streak to five.

“I don’t care who we’re playing or what that team’s situation is,” said Parker, a junior swingman who is the No. 1 player in the ESPNU 60. “All we care about is leaving with a win.”

They did.

Parker scored 20 points and snagged six rebounds to keep No. 1 Simeon (13-0) undefeated with a 59-56 win over No. 34 Miller Grove (6-5) Saturday night at the Cancer Research Classic in Wheeling, W.Va., in a game televised on ESPN2.

Kendrick Nunn added 19 points and Steve Taylor pumped in 11 for Simeon. Tony Parker led Miller Grove with 20 points and 12 rebounds.

“This was a great win for us over a great team,” said Jabari Parker, who was named Most Valuable Player. “We knew that we’d have to come out and execute well early, and I feel like we did that. That carried over to later in the game and it helped us pull out a close one. We’re really happy with this win.”

Parker had the hot hand early for Simeon, reeling off 10 points in the first quarter to give his squad an early 18-14 lead. Simeon extended that lead by capitalizing off of Miller Grove’s turnovers. Simeon turned six second-quarter turnovers into 10 points and cruised to a comfortable 35-20 lead at the half.

Simeon’s swarming defense caused Miller Grove to shoot just 36 percent from the field in the first half.

“We executed well in the first half,” Simeon coach Robert Smith said. “But we know that basketball is a game of runs, and we knew that they’d make a run. They’re too good not to make a run.”

That started in the third quarter.

Miller Grove shot 8 of 11 and put together a 24-8 run to grab a 44-43 lead early in the fourth quarter.

That’s when Simeon displayed its full array of offensive weapons. Four different players scored during Simeon’s 16-13 run to seal the win.

“That’s the special thing about this team,” Smith said. “We have so many guys that can score the ball that it’s hard to key in on one player. This was a huge win for our program. Coach (Sharman) White does a great job with that program, and we feel great to have pulled this one out.”

Jason Jordan is the basketball editor for ESPNHS. He can be reached at jason.x.jordan.-ND@espn.com. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter: @JayJayESPN.

More on Simeon-Miller Grove hoops

January, 6, 2012
ESPNHS basketball editor Jason Jordan checks in with a preview of the Simeon-Miller Grove (Ga.) battle, which is set for 7 p.m. tomorrow night on ESPN2. One of the points Jordan brings up is that while Miller Grove has faltered early on this season, it's still a team that commands respect.

From Jordan's story:
The game was originally billed as the battle for the top spot, but Miller Grove, which began the season ranked No. 2, suffered a four-game skid, including losses to No. 2 Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.), Riverside Academy (Reserve, La.), No. 24 Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) and No. 33 Lake Wales (Lake Wales, Fla.).

That dropped the Wolverines to No. 34 in the current rankings.

“Obviously, we’re not happy with dropping those games, but we’re not dwelling on it at all,” said Miller Grove coach Sharman White. “It’s behind us. We’re 100 percent focused on what we’ve got to do to beat Simeon. We’re hungry to get back on track, and what better way than against the No. 1 team in the country?”

The story also features quotes from Simeon junior Jabari Parker, as well as video clips of White and Miller Grove senior forward Tony Parker discussing the game.

Click here to read the entire story.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twittter (@ESPNHSGrimala).
Simeon is set to play one of its biggest games of the season on Saturday night, when the Wolverines travel to West Virginia to take on Miller Grove (Ga.) in the Cancer Research Classic. Miller Grove is ranked No. 34 in the POWERADE FAB 50, and the team's star player is senior power forward Tony Parker (the No. 31 player in the ESPNU 100).

The game will be televised live at 7 p.m. CT on ESPN2, so you know it's a big deal. To get you inside the game, I talked to Simeon star junior Jabari Parker (the No. 1 player in the ESPNU 60) and played a little game of True or False.

* Parker's responses are in Wolverines' blue.

True or False

1. Miller Grove is the best team Simeon has faced so far this season.
Parker: True — They play on a national level, and the teams we've been playing against so far haven't been tested like that.

2. Tony Parker is the best player Simeon has faced so far this season.
Parker: True — He's a big presence down low. Once he gets it in the paint, there's no stopping him. He's just so huge and agile, there's no one that can match up with him one-on-one.

3. National TV games are a big deal to you.
Parker: True — With this game being on ESPN2, you know everybody will be watching. It's a chance for us to get a lot of looks on a national level.

4. A Simeon player will do something in this game to make the SportsCenter Top 10.
Parker: True — It can be anybody, though. We've got a lot of guys that can make the highlight reel.

5. Simeon will still be No. 1 in the FAB 50 after this game.
Parker: True — I just have that much confidence in this team. If we play our best game, I don't know if anyone in the country can match that. We get everyone's "A-game," but in the fourth quarter we're usually the tougher team.

Be sure to tune in to ESPN2 at 7 p.m. CT on Saturday to see if Jabari is right.

Whitney Young is also set to take on Gonzaga Prep (Washington, D.C.) in the Cancer Research Classic, with that game tipping off at 9 p.m. Saturday. For the complete schedule of ESPN-televised high school basketball games this season, click here.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala).

Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday

Whether you’re putting together a grouping of best quarterbacks or worst albums, or you’re making that special list for Santa, there’s nothing quite like a good list. So in honor of the holiday season we’re bringing you lists all week long — Merry List-Mas!

Today: The five best NBA players ever to come out of Illinois.

Jabari Parker, Billy Garrett and Thomas Hamilton are all standout basketball recruits who are likely headed to D-I colleges — and possibly beyond. Illinois has sent its share of school players to the NBA. But who’s been the best? Here’s our list of the five best players from Illinois to play in the NBA.

5. Derrick Rose
Rose won a state title at Simeon, then led Memphis to the NCAA title game as a freshman in 2007-08. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, Rose has quickly distinguished himself as a superstar, earning MVP honors last season after averaging 25.0 points and 7.7 assists per game.
4. Isiah Thomas*
A true Chicago kid, Thomas graduated from St. Joseph and played two seasons at Indiana, winning a national title in 1980-81 before declaring for the NBA draft. The Pistons made him the No. 2 pick, and Thomas spent his entire 13-year career with Detroit. The 6-foot-1 point guard averaged 19.2 points and 9.3 assists for his career, made 12 All-Star teams, won two NBA championships and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2000.
* Let's all agree not to talk about his post-playing career as a front office executive. [Shudder]

3. Kevin Garnett
Garnett would have been No. 1 on this list, but he's not a true Illinois native. Born in South Carolina, he only spent his senior year of high school in the state, playing at Farragut. It was a productive season, as he posted 25.2 points, 17.9 rebounds, 6.7 assists and 6.5 blocks and earning McDonald's All-American status before deciding to skip college. Garnett declared for the 1995 NBA draft and went fifth overall to Minnesota. A surefire lock for the Hall of Fame, Garnett has made 14 All-Star teams, won MVP honors in 2003-04 and was named Defensive Player of the Year in 2007-08. Also in 2007-08, he led the Boston Celtics to the NBA championship.

2. George Mikan
A true legend of the game, Mikan was born in Joliet and graduated from Archbishop Quigley. After a great college career at DePaul, Mikan played just seven NBA seasons — but he made an historic impact. The first true "center," the 6-foot-10 Mikan was unstoppable in the post, averaging 28.3 points as a rookie in 1948-49. He went on to average 23.1 points per game for his pro career. Mikan won five NBA championships, was inducted into the Hall of Fame and was named one of the NBA's 50 Greatest Players. And perhaps even more impressive, the league had to alter some of its core rules in order to prevent Mikan from dominating the game too thoroughly. The NBA widened the lane from six to 12 feet in an attempt to keep the first true "big man" away from the basket.

1. Dwyane Wade
Wade may be a villain right now, but let's not lose sight of the fact that he's also one of the best players in NBA history. A Richards grad, Wade went on to star at Marquette before being taken fifth overall by Miami in the 2003 NBA draft. He's now working on a streak of seven consecutive seasons of at least 24 points per game, including a league-best 30.2 in 2008-09. In 2005-06, Wade led the Heat to the NBA championship, averaging 34.7 points per game in the last round to win Finals MVP honors. Now that he's teamed up with LeBron James and Chris Bosh, there's a good chance Wade could add more championship hardware before his career is over.

Tomorrow: Wild Card! Check back tomorrow to find out what our list is.

Five Days of List-Mas: IL's A-List

December, 12, 2011

Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday

Whether you're putting together a grouping of best quarterbacks or worst albums, or you're making that special list for Santa, there's nothing quite like a good list. So in honor of the holiday season we're bringing you lists all week long — Merry List-Mas!

Today: Illinois A-List

What is an A-Lister? In Hollywood, it's the George Clooney and Julia Roberts crowd. In the NFL, Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers are A-Listers. In the NBA, it’s LeBron James and Kobe Bryant. The A-List is the best of the best. So which athletes can be considered A-Listers in Illinois this year? That’s where today’s list comes in. Regardless of sport, here’s our list of the top five A-List athletes in the state.

Aaron Bailey, Junior
Bolingbrook, Football
Credentials: Quarterbacked Bolingbrook to state championship; ran for 1,983 yards and 30 touchdowns.

Ty Isaac, Junior
Joliet Catholic, Football
Credentials: Ran for 2,629 yards and scored 49 touchdowns; led Joliet Catholic to state title game.

Ryan Koziol, Senior
Providence, Baseball
Credentials: The most controversial selection to this list, Koziol may not play a single inning this year after being ruled ineligible following his transfer from Brother Rice to Providence. He has committed to Arizona.

Jabari Parker, Junior
Simeon, Basketball
Credentials: No. 1 in the ESPNU 60; leads the No. 1 team in the POWERADE FAB 50.

Jordan Westerkamp, Senior
Montini, Football
Credentials: State's all-time leader in receptions (269), receiving yards (4,355) and touchdowns (66).

Click here to check out some of the other states in our Five Days of List-Mas.

Tomorrow: The top underclassman football players from Illinois.

Think I missed someone who should be on the A-List? Hit me on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala) and make your case.

JabariParker1Matt Marcinkowski/ESPNHSSimeon junior Jabari Parker is rated No. 1 in the ESPNU 60
This story originally appeared in the Holiday issue of ESPNHS magazine’s Illinois edition.

In Chicago, word spreads quickly. The city’s reputation for producing basketball talent has everyone on the lookout, as locals are always eager to find the next big thing on the hardwood.

It’s never too early to anoint the next legend, either. That’s why Jabari Parker signed his first autograph in the sixth grade.
“I remember there was an article in the paper about me,” says Parker, now a junior at Simeon. “Someone came up and asked me to sign it. That was interesting.”

Chicago was pumping up Parker as the sport’s next phenom before he even reached middle school, but the rest of the country was in wait-and-see mode. Even after he stepped into Simeon’s starting lineup as a freshman and helped the team win a state title, he wasn’t locked into the top spot.

But as it turns out, the Windy City hype machine was right all along. There’s no need to wait anymore. Parker has proved it — after watching him lead Simeon to another state crown last year, it’s safe to say he’s backed up the hype and then some.

Ranked No. 1 among juniors in the ESPNU 60, Parker is arguably the country’s top player regardless of class.

“Jabari is an exceptional talent,” says Simeon coach Robert Smith. “I think he can be one of the best basketball players that ever lived. Ever.”
Parker’s true position is small forward, where he draws comparisons to NBA All-Stars like Grant hill, Paul Pierce and Carmelo Anthony, but Smith uses him all over the court.

At 6-foot-8, Parker can legitimately play all five positions at the high school level and dominate at each spot. He’s the perfect combination of skill, size, athletic ability, attitude and intelligence. Last year as a sophomore, he averaged 16 points and eight rebounds per game while flashing the kind of talent that should have pro teams tanking games during the 2013-14 season in order to draft him.

Parker does everything for Simeon. He runs the point, scores on the perimeter, initiates the offense, posts up and crashes the boards. It’s a lot of pressure to put on one player, but if early fame taught Parker anything, it’s the importance of being poised.

That composed presence is one of the biggest reasons Parker has been able to guide Simeon to Class 4A state championships the past two seasons.

"I think poise is my best quality,” says Parker, whose Wolverines open this season as the nation’s No. 1 team in the POWERADE FAB 50. “I always try to have my head about me, and I think that gives my coaches and my teammates confidence in me. They know that no situation is too big for me.”

When it was announced that he would attend Simeon, the Parker buzz got even louder. The school had just seen its previous superstar and most famous alum, Derrick Rose, walk across the stage as the top pick in the NBA draft, and similar expectations were placed on Parker.
Matt Marcinkowski/ESPNHSJabari Parker averaged 16.1 points and 8.0 rebounds while leading Simeon to a state championship as a sophomore last year

“In this city, there’s a lot of expectations and hype,” says Parker. “coming out of eighth grade when i was going to Simeon, it was a lot of talk about Derrick Rose and now, me. But I was OK with it, because I want people to expect the most out of me. I was hungry.”

Parker has always been well equipped to deal with the spotlight. His father, Sonny, is a former NBA player, so Jabari has never been in awe of the glitz and glamour that goes with being a professional athlete.

And his mother, Lola, is a big influence on how he lives his life off the court. Parker credits her for keeping him grounded while at the same time encouraging him to pursue basketball.

“Family is really No. 1 for me,” says Parker. “They are why I’m the person I am today. They taught me to be focused and to have discipline. I try to do things 110 percent and with full effort. I have full gratitude for my parents for teaching me that.”

With his family keeping him humble, Parker is driven to work hard even though he’s been signing autographs since the sixth grade. This offseason, he transformed his body, losing the baby fat and replacing it with lean, explosive muscle.

Parker is moving more suddenly on the perimeter, accelerating better in the open court and finishing more decisively around the rim. Plays that ended with layups last year are now dunks. “You can tell he’s been in the weight room,” says Smith. “We’re just going to let him play. offensively, he’s going to have multiple responsibilities, but he’s always been comfortable with that.

“The biggest difference this season is what we’re asking him to do on defense. He’s working on his footwork and moving his feet defensively, getting better at man-to-man defense. He wants to guard the other team’s best player, and we want to utilize that ability. Getting into such good shape will help, and he understands that.”

So he can play every position on offense, defend the opponents’ best scorers, set an example with his work ethic and lead the nation’s No. 1 team.

Jabari Parker came in with a lot of hype. But in his case, maybe it wasn’t enough.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala) — it's fun!

All-State Hoops: Illinois

November, 8, 2011
See all 51 All-State teams.

With the 2011-12 hoops season set to tip off, ESPNHS has all the info you need on the top players in Illinois.

We’ve broken down the state’s top 20 players into four teams based on their talent, and included a whole lot of other players who just missed the cut. Keep in mind, these selections are based on past accomplishments and projected on-court performance in addition to recruit rankings.

For a list of the top senior basketball recruits in Illinois, click here.

Illinois All-State Basketball

First Team

G: Billy Garrett, Morgan Park, 6-3/165, Junior
Committed to DePaul in the spring.

F: Thomas Hamilton, Whitney Young, 6-8/230, Junior
Big man is on the cusp of dominant breakthrough season.

F: Jabari Parker, Simeon, 6-8/230, Junior
No. 1 recruit in Class of 2013 is arguably the nation's best overall player.

F: Steve Taylor, Simeon, 6-7/175, Senior
Marquette recruit is ranked No. 1 senior in state by ESPNU.

C: Jahlil Okafor, Whitney Young, 6-8/260, Sophomore
Teams with Hamilton to give Whitney Young twin shot blockers.

Second Team

G: Malcolm Hill, Belleville East, 6-5/200, Junior
Posted 16.7 points, 4.1 rebounds per game as a soph.

G: Kendrick Nunn, Simeon, 6-1/175, Junior
De-committed from Texas A&M earlier this fall.

G: Michael Orris, Crete-Monee, 6-3/185, Senior
Smooth guard dished out more than six assists per game last year.

F: Alex Foster, De La Salle, 6-8/205, Junior
Long, rangy southpaw is a premier shot blocker.

F: Paul White, Whitney Young, 6-8/185, Sophomore
Expected to play major role after promising freshman season.

Third Team

G: Kendall Stephens, St. Charles East, 6-5/165, Junior
Shooting guard has a deadly 3-point shot.

G: Jaylon Tate, Simeon, 6-1/170, Junior
Electric guard transferred from De La Salle over the summer.

G: Fred Van Vleet, Auburn, 5-11/175, Senior
Wichita State commit scored more than 17 points per game last year.

F: Jermaine Morgan, Whitney Young, 6-8/220, Senior
Colorado State recruit is versatile offensive player.

F: Willie Wiley, Springfield, 6-7/200, Senior
Posted 11.4 points, 8.2 rebounds per game a year ago.

Fourth Team

G: Kory Brown, Elgin, 6-4/180, Senior
Expect a huge season — he put up 16.1 points and 6.1 boards last year.

G: Keith Carter, Proviso East, 6-1/170, Senior
Combo guard has committed to Loyola.

G: Aaron Simpson, North Chicago, 6-0/175, Senior
Averaged more than 22 points per game last year.

F: Connor Boehm, New Trier, 6-7/190, Senior
Tough big man should average around 20 points per game this year.

F: Darius Paul, Warren, 6-8/210, Senior
Leads the No. 2 team in the state.

Other Top Players
Cliff Alexander, Curie, C, So.
Austin Angel, New Trier, F, Sr.
Larry Austin, Lamphier, G, So.
A.J. Avery, St. Rita, F, Sr.
Ka’Darryl Bell, Oak Park-River Forest, G, Sr.
T.J. Bell, Charleston, G, Sr.
Nathan Boothe, Warren, C, Sr.
Sterling Brown, Proviso East, G, Jr.
Paris Burns, Proviso East, G, Sr.
Mike Fleming, Stevenson, G, sr.
JoVaughn Gaines, Warren, G, Sr.
Cameron Harvey, St. Joseph, G, Sr.
Tony Hicks, St. Rita, G, Sr.
Jalen James, Hope Academy, G, Jr.
C.J. Jones, Orr, G, Sr.
Robert Knar, Mundelein, G, Jr.
Eric Locke, Oak Park-River Forest, G, So.
Alex Majewski, Brother Rice, F, Jr.
Andrew McAuliffe, Glenbrook North F, Jr.
Jamall Millison, Downers Grove South, G, Sr.
Donald Moore, Bloom, G, Sr.
Jelani Neely, Simeon, G, Sr.
Kyle Nelson, St. Charles North, F, Sr.
Derrick Randolph, Whitney Young, G, Sr.
Jameris Smith, Warren, G, Sr.
Gabriel Snider, Whitney Young, G, Sr.
Akeem Springs, Waukegan, F, Sr.
Xavier Taylor, Morgan Park, C, Jr.
Jerron Wilbut, Donwers Grove South, G, Sr.
Tim Williams, Homewood-Flossmoor, C, Sr.
There was little doubt who would open the season at No. 1 in the POWERADE state rankings. Simeon also holds the top spot in the preseason FAB 50, thanks largely to junior forward Jabari Parker, who has led Simeon to back-to-back state championships. Parker isn't a one-man show, however, as forward Steve Taylor is rated as the top senior in Illinois by ESPNU.

No. 2 Warren and No. 3 Whitney Young also boast deep, talented squads, but catching Simeon will be an uphill climb this season.

Illinois POWERADE preseason rankings
  1. Simeon
  2. Warren
  3. Whitney Young
  4. Proviso East
  5. Curie
Click here for complete POWERADE state rankings.
As detailed by Scott Powers in this ESPNChicago story, Simeon's open gym yesterday had all the star power of a Hollywood red carpet premier. The main attraction was junior forward Jabari Parker, the top-ranked player in the ESPNU Super 60.

Duke is making it no secret that Parker is the Blue Devils' top target in the Class of 2013. Mike Krzyzewski was on hand at the open gym, along with two assistant coaches. But he wasn't the only superstar coach in attendance.

From ESPNChicago:
Krzyzewski was among 40 coaches who took in Simeon's open gym Tuesday. DePaul coach Oliver Purnell, Illinois coach Bruce Weber, Kansas coach Bill Self, Michigan State coach Tom Izzo, North Carolina coach Roy Williams, Ohio State coach Thad Matta and Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy were among the coaches in attendance.

"It was crazy," Simeon coach Rob Smith said of all of the coaches. "It's something I've never been around in my years of coaching."

Parker has said his recruitment is wide open, with no early favorites yet. And it looks like he'll have no shortage of options when it comes time to make his decision.

To read the full story, click here.