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Friday, December 21, 2012
Jabari Parker deals with backlash

By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com

CHICAGO -- Jabari Parker, the nation's No. 2 senior out of Simeon Career Academy here, said Friday his decision to commit to Duke has resulted in some fans harassing him on Twitter.

"I think I'm getting more tweets," Parker said during his lunch hour at Simeon on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000. "Fans are just now giving me a hard time. They sometimes just forget I'm a kid.

"Real hateful stuff. It's no problem, though. I know it comes with the territory, and it's just going to make me stronger."

Parker announced his commitment to the Blue Devils at Simeon Thursday live on ESPNU. He chose Duke over BYU, Florida, Michigan State and Stanford.

Among the hundreds of direct mentions at Parker's Twitter account (@JabariParker22) on Thursday, some couldn't resist criticizing and insulting the 17-year-old for his choice:

• "Ur a loser. Have fun not having a pro career after duke #dukesucks #UNC"

• "committing to duke???youra joke. UNC is where it's at.....Hope you never get to the league"

• "Ungodly amounts of respect lost for @JabariParker22 tonight... Duke? Seriously?"

Other tweets contained profane language.

Parker, who had 34,175 Twitter followers as of Friday morning, put out his own message at about 11 p.m. ET Thursday after seeing what others were writing about him. Parker tweeted: "Trying to grow up fast. Act with a lot of class. I want to be respectful ALL the time. Sometimes people forget I'm 17#strivingforcharacter"

Parker admitted that choosing Duke over Michigan State and coach Tom Izzo -- who had recruited him since Parker was a freshman -- was "difficult."

As a junior, the 6-foot-8 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 a game.

Parker and Simeon have won three Illinois Class 4A state championships. The Wolverines are attempting to become only the second team in state history to win four consecutive titles.

Parker was ranked No. 1 in the senior class until Andrew Wiggins reclassified from the Class of 2014 into the Class of 2013 in October.

Parker is Duke's third Class of 2013 recruit. He joins shooting guard Matt Jones, who is ranked No. 36 in the nation, and small forward Semi Ojeleye, who is ranked No. 41.