Illini still pursuing Jabari Parker
Illinois coach John Groce has continued to recruit Chicago Simeon Career Academy forward Jabari Parker, the nation's No. 1 senior, and the Illini still could be considered, according to Parker's father and Simeon's coach on Monday.
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Parker, a 6-foot-8 forward, released on July 11 a list of 10 schools he was considering. Illinois did not make the cut. His list featured BYU, DePaul, Duke, Florida, Georgetown, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan State, North Carolina and Stanford.
All 10 of the schools have been recruiting Parker for a number of years. Former Illinois coach Bruce Weber had developed a relationship with Parker and his family. Weber was fired after last season and replaced by Groce, who only had a few months to recruit Parker.
"They're still in touch," Parker's father, Sonny Parker, said of Illinois. "You never know. You never know how things are going to pan out."
Simeon coach Robert Smith thought Groce and the Illini would get another chance to present themselves to Parker and his family before a commitment was made.
"I think they're doing what's right," Smith said of Illinois. "He hasn't made his decision to a school yet. They were kind of behind the eight ball because Groce came in so late. They hired (assistant Isaac) Chew and he went to Marquette, and then they hired (assistant Paris) Parham. That's when Jabari came out with the list. I think they're doing a good job of staying in with him and seeing what's going to happen.
"I think they need an opportunity to present themselves to the family, Jabari and myself and what their plans are and what they're looking for. I think that will happen. By them still recruiting him, I think that says a lot about the coaching staff."
Parker is currently in California on vacation. He made an unofficial to Stanford while out there. Sonny Parker said he expected to sit down with Jabari soon and plan his in-home and official campus visits. He also thought Parker eventually would trim his list to five schools.
Parker has been resting since mid-July after discovering he had a fracture in his right foot. His father said Jabari was healing well and was expected to return to the court in about a month.
As a junior, Parker was named the ESPNChicago.com Player of the Year, Illinois' Mr. Basketball and the national Gatorade Player of the Year. He averaged 19.5 points, 8.9 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 3.3 blocks and 1.4 steals per contest to help Simeon to its third consecutive state title.
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