- Scott Powers, Reporter
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RIVERSIDE, Ill. -- In an effort to allow him to be a normal teenager before diving into college basketball recruiting, Jabari Parker's family is going to limit his media availability this summer.
Parker, a 6-foot-9 forward at Simeon Career Academy in Chicago, is ranked the No. 1 junior in the country by ESPN and recently appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
"Basketball never stops, so we're getting ready to shut it down for him," Parker's father, Sonny, said. "He just wants to continue to be a kid, watch cartoons, hang out with friends and everything.
"I think Jabari is the first (high school) player who has experienced this social media stuff. LeBron (James) and Kobe (Bryant) never experienced that. Jabari can't go to the bathroom without being on Twitter. It's the first time a player of his caliber you know he plays a game, gets out of the shower and he's on YouTube."
Sonny said all the attention has gotten to his son.
"It's overwhelming," Sonny said. "It could be a distraction sometimes because he still has to stay in the same routine. I think the distractions sometimes can get overwhelming.
"He doesn't like a lot of attention. He's managing. With all the interviews, they want to do a book, they want to do a movie, they want to do a documentary, those things. He says, 'Dad, why do they have to follow me to school and church and home and everything?' He's trying to get used to that."
Parker's upcoming schedule won't help with that, either. He plans to attend the NBPA Top 100 camp, train in Colorado and play in Lithuania with Team USA's U17 squad, play in a couple Nike EYBL events and travel to Los Angeles to attend the ESPYS.
If Parker had his way, he'd be in the gym improving his game.
"He wants to be back in the gym," Sonny said. "He wants to get back in the gym and do his workouts. He doesn't have a lot to prove. Of course, he's the biggest target. He's the hunted."
As for recruiting, Sonny said they'd start creating a list of colleges at the end of the summer. Sonny said it was still wide open at this point.
"He's going to narrow it down," Sonny said. "He's going to take his visits and he's going to make his decision."
Sonny also nixed a rumor he didn't travel on airplanes. He said he flew last week, and it wouldn't impact where his son attended school.
Sonny said in-state schools DePaul and Illinois remained among those his son was interested in. Sonny said he and new Illinois coach John Groce have had a couple of conversations.
"It's hard to say (whether Illinois has a chance,)" Sonny said. "He likes Illinois because he's from here. He's mentioned Illinois. Yeah, he had relationships with (former Illinois) coach (Bruce) Weber, Jerrance (Howard) and those guys. It's his home state.
"(Groce) seems to be a good person. We talked about a lot of different things -- how Jabari fits in, what type of style, just trying to develop a relationship with him now."
22hEthan Sherwood Strauss