High-SchoolPlayer-of-the-Year: Bradley Beal
April, 13, 2012
By Ben Rohrbach | ESPN.com
CHICAGO, Ill. -- Considering Simeon (Chicago, Ill.) rode Jabari Parker to its third consecutive Class 4A state championship this past season, it was only fitting Alonzo Mourning challenged Parker to a game of H.O.R.S.E. after surprising him with the news on Thursday that he is the fourth junior in history to claim Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year honors.
A seven-time NBA All-Star, Mourning defeated both 2009-10 winner Brandon Knight and 2010-11 winner Bradley Beal in the same competition at the previous two presentations, but unlike Parker he couldn't three-peat in Chicago.
"The boy ain't missing," said Mourning. "He got the jumper. I see why he got that award."
Once Parker finished Mourning off on a jump shot from the right baseline, H.O.R.S.E. to H.O.R., the former two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year challenged him again. "Let's run it back," he said.
Parker wasn't so forgiving the second time, sweeping the Olympic gold medalist -- H.O.R.S.E. to zilch -- on both right-handed and left-handed hook shots in the lane, a baseline jumper, a baby hook off the glass on the block and a 17-footer from the left elbow. Over the course of the contest, Parker put the full range of his scoring ability on display.
"The wheels are coming off," conceded Mourning before embracing Parker, turning to the small crowd in attendance, clapping and adding, "Give it up."
Add another title to the growing list of accomplishments for ESPNU's No. 1 ranked junior recruit.