One of the best high school basketball players in the country just spent a few days in Utah.
Jabari Parker, a 6-foot-8, 220-pound phenom from Chicago and member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, spent time with extended family, visited BYU and attended LDS General Conference at the conference center over the weekend. He and his brother, Christian Parker, even recorded an interview with a blog site called www.sistasinzion.com.
Parker was recently named the Illinois All-state player of the year by the News-Gazette. He was profiled in a lengthy feature article. In addition to his high-profile basketball talent, the article pointed out that Parker earns As and Bs in the classroom and attends early morning seminary.
“I just want to be a good example, for people generally,” the 17-year-old Parker said in the article. “Not just athletes, but people. I just want to make change in everyone’s life. I know a lot of athletes out here, they’re making wrong decisions. I know there’s going to be a light on me everywhere I go, and there’s going to be eyes everywhere. I want to have good behavior. I always want to be a good person.”
Reports indicate BYU is still recruiting Parker, but are struggling to compete with powerhouse programs like Duke, Kentucky, and North Carolina. Washington is also in the picture.
In other news, Mormon golfing legend Billy Casper was recently featured on bleacherreport.com by Andy Reistetter. The article mentions Casper’s new biography, “The Big Three and Me,” co-authored by James Parkinson and Deseret News award-winning columnist Lee Benson.
“The fourth turning point in his (Casper’s) life came when he and his young family joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and committed to tithing 10 percent of his winnings on tour. This was a bold move in 1966 when ‘Giving Back’ and ‘Together, Anything’s Possible” were not officially promoted PGA Tour Initiatives,” the article stated.
I’m impressed with Casper for the admirable way he golfed and how he stayed true to gospel principles in his career. Good luck with the book, Billy, Lee and James.