As hard as he tries to avoid the spotlight, Jabari Parker can’t escape it.
Parker, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was recently named the Gatorade National Boys’ Basketball Player of the Year. An article by Chad Konecky on ESPN.com carried the announcement.
“This award means more to me than any other,” Parker told Konecky. “I can think of a lot of guys who probably deserve this more, but I’m lucky and I’m honored.”
Parker was surprised with the news in his Spanish class by former NBA all-star Alonzo Mourning. After Mourning asked if Parker could say he was excited in Spanish, the 17-year-old joked about getting back to class.
As a junior, Parker led his Simeon High Wolverines to a 33-1 record and a 3-peat as state champions this season. He averaged 20.4 points, 9.2 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 3.4 blocks and 1.5 steals per game. He is only the fourth non-senior to receive the award, joining the company of LeBron James, Greg Oden and Brandon Knight. Parker also maintains a 3.63 GPA.
“Jabari is a once in a lifetime player and person,” Paul Biancardi, ESPN’s director of basketball recruiting. “As a person he is incredible, humble and hard-working, regardless of his accolades.”
Unfortunately for college basketball fans, especially BYU fans who would like to see the Mormon hoopster suit up for the Cougars, the Chicago native remains undecided about where he will play college basketball.