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Parker in 2013
|No. 1 – Duke Blue Devils|
|League||Atlantic Coast Conference|
|Born|| March 15, 1995 |
|Listed height||6 ft 8 in (203 cm)|
|Listed weight||235 lb (107 kg)|
|High school||Simeon (Chicago, Illinois)|
|Career highlights and awards|
Parker in 2013
|No. 1 – Duke Blue Devils|
|League||Atlantic Coast Conference|
|Born|| March 15, 1995 |
|Listed height||6 ft 8 in (203 cm)|
|Listed weight||235 lb (107 kg)|
|High school||Simeon (Chicago, Illinois)|
|Career highlights and awards|
Jabari Parker (born March 15, 1995) is an American college basketball player for Duke University, where he is playing his freshman season for the 2013–14 team. Parker earned the 2012 national boys' basketball Gatorade Player of the Year and the 2013 McDonald's All-American Game Morgan Wootten national player of the year at Simeon Career Academy. Parker is the son of former NBA player Sonny Parker. In high school, he was often measured against former Simeon standout and 2011 NBA MVP, Derrick Rose.
He was the ESPN HS National Player of the Year for his class and an Illinois High School Association (IHSA) state champion as a freshman, sophomore and junior. Many experts considered Parker the top player in the recruiting class of 2013, including ESPN, Scout.com and Rivals.com, until the summer 2012 when he endured a foot injury and Andrew Wiggins reclassified into the class of 2013. Before his junior season, Dime Magazine declared him the best high school basketball player in the country. A ten-member panel at ESPN HS rated him second to senior Shabazz Muhammad before and after his junior season. He was named USA Basketball's 2011 Male Athlete of the Year at the start of his high school junior season. As a junior he was named national Gatorade Player of the Year and MaxPreps.com National Junior of the Year. That year, he became the first non-senior Illinois Mr. Basketball and was named first team All-American by several selectors including ESPN HS and USA Today. He was the feature of a Sports Illustrated cover story as a high school junior.
As a senior, he endured a foot injury and the resulting weight gain early in the season. Eventually, was selected to play in several all-star games, including the Jordan Brand Classic and the McDonald's All-American Game. He also became only the second player in the history of IHSA basketball to start for four consecutive state championship teams. He was recognized with the Morgan Wootten Award, which recognizes the McDonald's All-American Game's National Player of the year. He repeated as the Illinois Gatorade Player of the Year and Illinois Mr. Basketball. He finished among the top 5 players in the class of 2013 by all major selectors.
At Duke, he was preseason Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Rookie of the Year and a preseason All-ACC selection according to the ACC media. His 2013–14 Duke team was the preseason conference favorite. He was also preseason All-American according to several media sources and was listed on most major midseason watchlists for which he was eligible. He has earned two ACC Player of the week and eight Rookie of the Week recognitions at Duke. Among Parker's Duke records are freshman single-game offensive rebounds and freshman season 20-point games.
Parker's family has resided on Chicago's South Side since before Jabari was born, and he was raised in the South Shore community area. Jabari's African-American father, Sonny, has served hundreds of Chicago metropolitan area children as youth foundation director since 1990. Jabari discovered basketball in one of his father's many leagues, although his father has never coached one of his teams. He honed his basketball skills with his brother Christian on the basketball court at his local LDS Church meetinghouse in the Hyde Park community area in order to avoid the hazards of urban playgrounds. By second grade his basketball skills were superior to the fifth-graders he was playing with and he competed in middle school leagues as a fifth-grader. He credits his cousin Jay Parker who grew up with him for pushing him to be better going back to when Jabari was in third grade and Jay was in fifth grade. Sometimes, Jabari and Christian played basketball all through the night at the church. Jabari actually made the eighth-grade team as a fourth-grader, but could not play until fifth grade for insurance reasons. In fifth grade, he began attending the Illinois Fighting Illini summer basketball camp run by Bruce Weber. By this time, he had five Division I scholarship offers as a 6-foot (1.83 m) guard. In sixth grade, when he stood at 6 feet 2 inches (1.88 m), he visited Simeon for a day and scrimmaged with Rose. Parker attended Robert A. Black Magnet Elementary and made headlines when he made Simeon Career Academy his high school choice, just like Rose, Nick Anderson, Ben Wilson, Bobby Simmons and Deon Thomas before him. Parker, who also considered Morgan Park High School and Whitney M. Young Magnet High School, has two older sisters who had attended Simeon. However, he has claimed that the reason he chose Simeon was due to his perception of the likelihood that he could achieve team success on the basketball court (as measured in championships). During the summer after finishing middle school, he received an National Basketball Players Association Top 100 Camp invitation, which he accepted. By this time, he stood at 6 feet 4 inches (1.93 m). When he made his high school selection, Sonny approached Simeon coach Robert Smith, announcing Jabari's intention. Then, Lola met Smith to state their wishes regarding Jabari's status as a devout student-athlete. She clarified that Jabari would be attending Sunday church rather than Smith's regular Sunday practices. As a compromise Smith rescheduled Sunday morning practices to the afternoon.
Simeon waived their longstanding ban against freshmen participating in varsity team play for Parker even though Rose and all the other stars before him had to play junior varsity as a freshman. Parker was the first freshman to start on the Simeon varsity team in school history, but he had been playing with children older than him since the third or fourth grade. He was part of an incoming class that was considered to have the best trio of freshman basketball players in state history (along with Whitney Young's Tommy Hamilton, Jr. and De La Salle Institute's Alex Foster). The three were the only freshmen included in the Chicago Sun-Times's preseason top-50 area players list, which included Jay Parker. In Parker's first game, he tallied 16 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists, while playing with a splint on his left non-shooting hand to protect a wrist fracture. With Hamilton and Parker in the fold, Simeon and Young renewed the dormant annual rivalry between the two high school basketball teams. When Simeon moved behind Young in the City rankings, the game became highly anticipated. While a freshman on the varsity, he volunteered as waterboy for the junior varsity games, which was a role that he continued to fill even as a junior. Over the course of the season, he contributed 9.3 points per game, 5.0 rebounds per game and 3.0 assists per game, while his team won the IHSA Class 4A state championship, despite a 25–9 record. In the Class 4A state semifinals against O'Fallon Township High School, Parker struggled from the field on 2-of-10 shooting, but had 4 assists and 9 rebounds. He missed the final three quarters of the championship game against Whitney Young due to a foot injury. By the end of the season, he had received numerous scholarship offers, including those from Illinois, Kansas, DePaul, Pittsburgh, Northwestern, Florida, Washington, BYU and Oregon State as well as significant interest from Kentucky, Duke and North Carolina. He earned the ESPN HS 2010 Freshman of the Year. He was a MaxPreps.com second team 2009-10 Boys Basketball Freshman All-American Team selection.
Prior to his sophomore season, Nike, Inc. renewed its contract with Simeon, obligating the team to wear Nike shoes and apparel for four years, including Parker's remaining tenure. During Parker's three years this would cost Nike less than $80,000 worth of equipment in retail value and prove to be worth over well over $1.2 million even prior to the exposure the team would give Nike during Parker's senior season state playoff run. As a sophomore, Parker helped his team spend much of the season ranked nationally in the top five, according to USA Today. One game was aired on ESPN. After having been named ESPN HS National Freshman of the year, Parker dipped to number six in the ESPNU Terrific 25 sophomores in December 2010. Parker and Hamilton again began the season on the Chicago Sun-Times area Top 50 list.
Simeon's 23-game winning streak was ended by Whitney Young in the Chicago Public High School League semifinals, although Parker was the only Wolverine to score in double figures. Parker measured 6 feet 8 inches (2.03 m) 225 pounds (102.1 kg). That season, he averaged 15.3 points and 5.9 rebounds per game, while his team won the IHSA Class 4A state championship with a 30–2 record. In the state championship tournament, Parker had notable performances in the March 8 sectional semifinal against Mount Carmel High School (team-high 18 points with 8 rebounds and 1 block), the March 15 supersectional against Farragut Career Academy (12 points and 7 rebounds), and the March 18 state semifinal contest Glenbard East High School (16 points). According to the Chicago Tribune, he was one of the two players who carried the team in the championship game 48–39 victory over Warren Township High School. Parker scored a game-high 12 points and added 5 rebounds and 3 blocks in the game.
He earned second team All-State recognition from the Chicago Tribune, while the Chicago Sun-Times listed him as a Class 4A All-State first-team selection with Ryan Boatright, Tracy Abrams, David Sobolewski and Frank Kaminsky. The 12-man Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Class 3A/4A boys' all-state first team included these five and Wayne Blackshear, Johnny Hill, Mike Shaw, Nnanna Egwu, Sam Thompson, Anthony Davis and Mycheal Henry. The Chicago Sun-Times selected him as an all-Public League selection along with Blackshear, Anthony Davis, Mycheal Henry and D. J. Tolliver. He earned the ESPN HS 2011 Sophomore of the year. He was a MaxPreps.com first team 2010-11 Boys Basketball Sophomore All-American Team selection.
Following his sophomore season, he was considered likely to join Quinn Buckner and Jereme Richmond as the only two-time Chicago Sun-Times players of the year due to the weakness of the class of 2012. The Chicago Sun-Times presented Joe Henricksen's 2011–12 area top 5 with the opinion that "When it's all said and done, Parker will be one of the top five prospects ever produced out of the state of Illinois – ever." After winning FIBA U16 gold, he participated in the July 2011 LeBron James Skill Academy, but at the time he was only ranked the number 2 basketball prospect in his class by ESPN.com, behind Julius Randle. Some scouts, however, were starting to pencil him in as the 2014 NBA Draft first overall selection. On more than one occasion, Chicago Sun-Times writer Michael O'Brien wrote that junior Parker is the best high school basketball player in the country at any position in any class. Early in his junior season similar praise could be found in The New York Times, while some sources such as Sports Illustrated and ESPN would only state that he might be the best.
Prior to his junior season, he was one of a handful of juniors invited to the August 5–7, 2011 5th annual Nike Global Challenge, where he earned tournament MVP honors. By that summer, Parker had unofficially visited Ohio State, Kentucky, Kansas, Michigan State, Illinois and Duke. Parker again entered the season as a Top 50 area player, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. He was also a pre-season first team All-State selection by ESPN HS along with Simeon teammate Taylor, USA Basketball teammate and Whitney Young rival Jahlil Okafor, Young's Hamilton, Morgan Park's Billy Garrett, Jr., while the Sun-Times preseason All-State team included Parker, Taylor, Jerron Wilbut of Downers Grove South High School, Rashaun Stimage of Farragut Career Academy and Michael Orris of Crete-Monee High School. By his junior season, 42 schools sent scouts and coaches to see his September 13, 2011 workout. Among those in attendance were Tom Izzo, Mike Krzyzewski, Bruce Weber, Billy Kennedy, Thad Matta, Bill Self, Roy Williams, Oliver Purnell and Larry Krystkowiak.
In early November, Dime Magazine pointed out that according to its source, HighSchoolHoop.com, Parker was the number one high school basketball player in the country, regardless of class. According to a ten-member panel of experts at ESPN HS he began the season as the second best player in the country behind senior Shabazz Muhammad in the Mr. Basketball USA poll. At the time of the first game of the year, Simeon was ranked first in the nation and numerous scouts were attending his games. Although they were preseason number one by ESPN HS, they were only preseason number four in the USA Today. His mother has encouraged him to talk with Duke head coach Krzyzewski and Parker has only granted him brief conversation time, reminding his mother that "Coach K is not Jesus. He's just another human being." Sonny Parker wants Jabari to keep his recruiting options open until his senior season. During his junior season, the team scheduled numerous trips including the Pontiac Holiday Tournament (December 28–30) and contests in North Carolina; Wheeling, West Virginia; Springfield, Massachusetts; and Memphis, Tennessee. Comcast SportsNet Chicago's Jake Flannigan filmed every in-state game for a documentary-style series about Simeon's season. Among the schools on the schedule are top 10 teams Miller Grove High School (Georgia) (No. 2 in ESPNHS poll) and No. 7 Findlay Prep (Las Vegas) at neutral sites. Joining Parker on the team are junior guard Kendrick Nunn and senior forward Steve Taylor and Jaylon Tate, a junior transfer from De La Salle Institute. Taylor is considered the top senior in the class of 2012 in the state of Illinois, while Parker and Nunn are the top two juniors.
On December 19, Parker established the Simeon single-game scoring record with 40 points in 21 minutes of play to go along with 16 rebounds and 6 blocked shots against Perspectives High School. On December 22, in front of an audience that included John Calipari, Rick Pitino, Rose and Anthony Davis at the UIC Pavilion, Parker played a supporting role with 15 points, 6 rebounds and 5 blocks in Simeon's 62–55 come-from-behind victory over rival Young. Hamilton was unavailable due to injury. Most elite level high school basketball players participate in the summer Amateur Athletic Union circuit as a complement to scholastic competition. Just before Christmas, Mac Irvin, a prominent summer basketball program developer and namesake of Parker's Mac Irvin Fire AAU team, died. During the subsequent holiday basketball tournament that coincided with Irvin's funeral, Parker memorialized Irvin on his sneakers.
That January, Simeon faced top national competition. They defeated the ESPN HS Fab 50 number 34 Miller Grove (Ga.) 59–56 on January 7, with Parker being named MVP of the Cancer Research Classic in Wheeling for his 20-point and 6-rebound effort. Following the tournament, Parker still ranked second in the ESPN HS Mr. Basketball USA poll according to the 10-member panel, but now had twice as many first place votes as poll leader Muhammad (6 vs. 3). On January 16, Parker had 24 points and 12 rebounds in a 75–50 loss to number 6 Findlay Prep at the Hoophall Classic. Among those in attendance were Krzyzewski and Calipari. By the time of the January 20 Mr. Basketball USA Tracker poll, he had slipped from second to third place behind Kyle Anderson and surrendered all of his first place votes. At the time, the leading contenders for his services were Northwestern, Brigham Young and Washington, with Kansas, North Carolina, Duke, Kentucky, Illinois, Michigan State and Missouri also considered contenders. As a junior in high school, he received offers from Duke, Kansas, BYU, Kentucky, UNC and others.
When five players including two starters and the sixth man were suspended for the 2012 Chicago Public High School League quarterfinals contest, Parker posted 33 points, 12 rebounds and 5 blocks to lead his team to a 73–62 victory over John Marshall Metropolitan High School on February 12. Parker posted 19 points and 6 blocks to lead Simeon to the city championship game for the first time since Rose led the team to city and state championships in 2007 by defeating Orr High School 61–51 on February 15. On February 17, Parker and Simeon won the Public League championship by defeating Curie Metropolitan High School 53–49, although Parker only contributed 11 points and 5 rebounds while battling foul trouble. Both the semifinals and finals were broadcast on ESPN3. The night after the championship game, Parker performed again in front of the likes of coaches Pitino and Weber in the 17th annual McDonald's City-Suburban Showdown, while tuning up for the February 28 state tournament. He scored 23 points and had 14 rebounds in a 59–51 victory over De La Salle Institute.
In the March 2 IHSA Oak Lawn Class 4A regional championship game against Chicago Vocational High School Parker posted a triple double with 20 points, 10 rebounds and 12 blocked shots setting up a sectional semifinal game against Young. Coaches Izzo, Krzyzewski, Matta and Weber as well as Mayor Emanuel and cadres of their assistants were among those in attendance to see this March 6 sectional semifinal won by Simeon 52–42 in which Parker led the way with 18 points and 6 rebounds. In the March 9 sectional final 65–44 victory over Marist High School, Parker was a key contributor with 19 points, 6 rebounds and 3 blocks, and he followed that up with 19 points, 10 rebounds and 6 blocks, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, or 19 points, 11 rebounds, 5 blocks and 2 steals, according to the Chicago Tribune and ESPN HS, in a 59–34 victory over Evanston High School in the supersectional on March 13. In the days prior to the state final four, Parker stated that although Coach Weber had been fired, he remains interested in Illinois and other in-state schools such as DePaul and Northwestern. Illinois contacted Simeon head coach Robert Smith regarding the coaching vacancy. Simeon defeated Bloom High School in the March 16 state semifinals 45–35 as Parker struggled to 10 points, 5 rebounds and 4 blocks. Parker added 15 points in the March 17 championship game 50–48 victory over Proviso East High School, resulting in a 33–1 junior year record for Simeon. Parker was the only player on the team that did not leave his sneakers on the court following the game as a territorial declaration that the championship court belongs to Simeon. Parker was interviewing during the declaration. All of the other underclass players would endure one-game suspensions the next season. The state semifinals and the finals were broadcast live on ESPN3. For the season, Parker averaged 19.5 points, 8.9 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 3.3 blocks and 1.4 steals per game or 20.4 points, 9.2 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 3.4 blocks and 1.5 steals per game, depending on the source, while shooting 55 percent from the field, 39 percent from 3-point range and 72 percent from the free-throw line.
When John Groce was named Illinois coach, it was puzzling to many Chicago area high school basketball insiders, who described his lack of Chicago connections as a significant detriment. However, Parker remained interested in Illinois, and Coach Smith was regarded as an interested candidate to be an assistant coach. Parker's father was also mentioned by the Sun-Times as a candidate for Groce's staff as was Mike Irvin, son of Mac Irvin and CEO of Parker's AAU team. Former Simeon stars Anderson, Thomas and Bryant Notree all went on to play at Illinois. Meanwhile, DePaul was able to gain commitments from close friends of Parkers. In April, Parker's AAU season started with lots of fanfare for the number one player, and as the team made notable appearances, the media followed.
Following the season, he was featured in a May cover story in Sports Illustrated with the title "The Best High School Basketball Player Since LeBron James is...Jabari Parker But There's Something More Important To Him Than Instant NBA Stardom: His Faith". The story presented his humility and noted that he is conflicted on his decision to serve as a LDS missionary. Effective June 15, 2012, the NCAA changed the recruiting contact rules from allowing coaches one phone call per month to high school juniors and two calls per week to high school seniors, to unlimited phone calls and text messages. This caused Parker to change his phone number and supposedly only one coach was given the number. Parker's parents require that coaches contact them instead of him directly, and this did not change with the new rule change. Parker announced that he anticipated trimming his potential schools to a list of five by the end of the summer so that he could plan official visits.
|Parker on May 21, 2012 cover of Sports Illustrated|
In February, the Chicago Sun-Times selected him as an all-Public League first team selection along with teammate Taylor, Milton Doyle, Devin Foster, Rashaun Stimage, while teammates Nunn and Neeley were second team and honorable mention selections, respectively. The Chicago Sun-Times named him to the Class 4A All-State first team along with Okafor, Keith Carter, Darius Paul and Fred VanVleet. He was also a first team (unanimous) All-State selection by the Associated Press along with VanVleet, Carter, Taylor, and Malcolm Hill. The Chicago Tribune named him first team All-State along with Carter, Aaron Simpson, Taylor, and VanVleet.
He earned recognition as the Chicago Sun-Times Player of the Year on March 1. He matched Buckner and Richmond as the third junior to win the award. He was the fifth player from Simeon to win the award (Nick Anderson in 1986, Deon Thomas in 1989, Calvin Brock in 2004 and Rose in 2007). This tied Simeon with George Westinghouse College Prep (Eddie Johnson, Mark Aguirre, Hersey Hawkins, Cedrick Banks, and DeAndre Thomas) for the most Players of the Year. He was also recognized as the best player in the city by ESPNChicago.com who honored him as their 2011–2012 Boys Basketball Player of the Year. On March 22, Parker was named the 2012 Illinois boys' basketball Gatorade Player of the Year. He became the first non-senior honoree in the 32-year history of Illinois Mr. Basketball, which is awarded by the Chicago Tribune in conjunction with the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association. On April 12, he was announced as the winner of the national boys' basketball Gatorade Player of the Year, which was presented to him by ex-NBA player Alonzo Mourning who greeted him at his school in a special assembly. Parker was the fourth junior to win the award (LeBron James, Greg Oden and Brandon Knight). Parker finished second to Muhammad in ESPN HS's Mr. Basketball USA voting. They were the only two players to appear on every ballot. However, Parker was selected as the ESPN HS National Junior of the Year. He was named the MaxPreps.com National Junior of the Year.
He was selected as a first team ESPN HS boys' high school basketball All-American along with Kyle Anderson, Marcus Smart, Shabazz Muhammad and Nerlens Noel by ESPN HS. He was also a first team All-USA selection by USA Today with the same four players. SLAM Magazine selected him to its first team along with Anderson, Muhammad, Noel and Isaiah Austin. In June, he was named the The Tribune/WGN-Ch. 9 Preps Plus Athlete of the Year by the Chicago Tribune and WGN-TV as the best high school athlete across all sports in the city of Chicago.
On June 14, he appeared with Katie Couric on Good Morning America. On July 11, Parker tweeted at 4:07 PDT that his school list would be posted at 4:15. He posted his list of ten schools at 4:19 "UK, Stanford, michigan state [sic], Kansas, Florida, Duke, BYU, Georgetown, Depaul, UNC. No order." ESPN described the omission of Illinois as a surprise, but explained that the family was disappointed in the firing of Weber. At the time of the announcement Michigan State and Duke were regarded as the leading contenders, according to the Chicago Sun-Times's Michael O'Brien, but the list also brought hope to Parker's hometown DePaul program. Parker began the summer with a toe injury that caused him to miss some games during the 2012 FIBA Under-17 World Championship and was expected to impair his summer training. Later in the summer, an MRI revealed that Parker had a fractured left foot. In August, Rivals.com demoted him from the number one ranking.
Parker made an unofficial visit to BYU on August 30 to visit with coach Dave Rose. On August 20, he visited Stanford and coach Johnny Dawkins, making Parker's second unofficial visit to the school. Although Illinois was not on the short list of ten schools, they continued to recruit Parker during the summer. At the end of August, Parker was still on crutches. By Early September, Parker had fallen from the top of some of the ratings, including SLAM Online and Rivals.com, due to his basketball inactivity.
In September, Parker added UConn to his list of 10 finalists. Most of the 11 schools were scheduled for in home visits by their respective coaching staffs. BYU, DePaul, Florida and Kansas had the first visits and Michigan State, Duke, Stanford, North Carolina and UConn were scheduled for later visits. By late September, Kentucky seemed to be out of contention. Only Kentucky and Georgetown did not make in-home visits.
At the beginning of October, Parker named Duke and Michigan State as the first two of his five finalists. He scheduled October official campus visits to each. He added Florida as the third finalist a few days later and rounded out his final five the next day with BYU and Stanford. That same week, the LDS Church announced that they had changed the age requirement for beginning a Mormon mission from 19 to 18. Later that month, his father stated that Parker was not expected to sign in the November 14–21 early signing period, but would likely commit to a school long before the April 17 — May 15, 2013. When Parker visited BYU, the fans printed thousands of t-shirts and created a viral video.
Parker was one of 10 USA Today preseason All-USA selections (along with Aaron Gordon, Andrew Harrison, Aaron Harrison, Kasey Hill, Tyus Jones, Okafor, Julius Randle, Noah Vonleh, Andrew Wiggins). Simeon was the number one ranked team in the MaxPreps.com national preseason poll. According to USA Today, they have three other top 10 teams on their schedule. Parker was named as one of the top 50 Chicago area players and top 5 Illinois Mr. Basketball contenders (along with Okafor, Nunn, Sterling Brown and Malcolm Hill) prior to the season by the Chicago Tribune's Mike Helfgot. Simeon entered the season ranked first in the nation according to ESPN and third according to USA Today.
On November 23, Parker was reported to still be wearing a boot and rehabbing, making him unlikely to appear in the December 1 season opener. On November 29, USA Today confirmed that Parker was unlikely to play in the opener. On November 30, he decided that he would attend college rather than pursue a Mormon Mission. He also noted that his five final schools all had long-tenured coaches because that was his preference. As part of his research Parker inquired about the faith receptivity of his candidates such as Duke, which has a history of strong support for members of the LDS Church. Parker did participate in the December 1 game against Milton High School, but only played about 10 minutes, scoring 6 points in the 56–35 victory. Parker had put on 35 pounds (15.88 kg) during his layoff from basketball. Although Parker appeared on the road to recovery, Randle incurred an foot fracture, sidelining him for three months and making the ESPN-televised December Prestonwood Christian Academy contest against Simeon less meaningful. The Matt Jones-led DeSoto High School replaced Prestonwood on the schedule. On December 12, Parker announced that he would select his college on December 20. This announcement came the day before #1-ranked Simeon was to appear on ESPN for its basketball game against #18-ranked DeSoto. Following two mid-December road games, Parker removed himself from the lineup due to foot soreness, but he was expected to be able to continue to practice with the team on December 17. On December 20, 2012 he chose to play for Duke University.
Parker returned to the lineup in time to become the first three-time winner of the Pontiac Holiday Tournament's A.C. Williamson Award as voted by the tournament's 9 referees. In the December 29 semifinal contest against Curie Metropolitan High School, Parker assumed Cliff Alexander as a defensive assignment after Alexander gave Curie a 48–47 lead with 4:58 time remaining and Alexander, who had posted 21 points on 9–10 field goal shooting, went scoreless the rest of the game, as Simeon prevailed 62–57. After early losses to DeSoto and the Dakari Johnson-led Montverde Academy, Parker led the team to victory against a Johnathan Williams III-led Southwind High School on January 12. On January 16, Simeon defeated Morgan Park High School 53–51, who went on to become 2013 IHSA Class 3A state champion (and the 2013 CPL playoff tournament runner up). On January 21, Parker led Simeon to an 81–68 victory over Oak Hill at the Hoophall Classic with 28 points, 5 rebounds and 2 blocks, including Simeon's first 11 points. Simeon entered the game ranked #11 by USA Today, while Oak Hill was #10. Parker played all 32 minutes in the game. On January 23, Parker's coach was suspended by the Chicago Public Schools for four games due to his conduct following an altercation at the January 16 game against Morgan Park. This news came as Simeon prepared for its rivalry game against the Okafor-led Whitney Young Dolphins on January 26. At the time Simeon was ranked #11 by ESPN and Young was ranked #4. Young was ranked #2 in the USA Today rankings at the time. On January 25, Simeon celebrated its senior night by retiring Parker's #22 and teammate Nunn's #20. The following night he only posted 7 points and 6 rebounds in the 44–41 victory over Young. Over the course of his senior season, Parker and Simeon played in six showcase games that required travel outside of the region. This type of scheduling began when Derrick Rose played for Simeon and the IHSA lifted the 500-mile radius rule for travel. Three of the showcase games were broadcast nationally on one of the ESPN networks. During the season, in addition to its sponsorship arrangements with Nike and Gatorade, Simeon signed its players to be advertising models and spokespersons for Skullcandy in exchange for benefits that include media lab equipment as well as headphones for the boys and girls teams.
Simeon began its postseason play on February 5 with a 93–32 Chicago Public High School League playoff rout of Urban Prep West. Parker scored 22 points and had 14 rebounds. In the round of 16 on February 7, Simeon defeated Harlan Community Academy High School 74–50 due, in part, to 14 points and 11 rebounds by Parker. In the February 10 Public League quarterfinals, Simeon defeated Bogan High School 59–49 as Parker posted 13 points and 10 rebounds. The game set up a semifinals rematch with Morgan Park, which follows closely on the heels of the January 16 contest won by Simeon 53–51 that led to a postgame altercation between the teams. Simeon was ousted by Morgan Park by a 54–53 score in overtime as Parker posted 14 points and 8 rebounds on an off shooting night where he was 4-for-17 from the field.
On February 26, the Associated Press Illinois Class 4A basketball rankings showed Whitney Young at number 1 and Simeon at number 2 as the state playoffs began, and it was widely expected that those two schools would meet on March 8 for the Argo Sectional championships. Later that day, Simeon began its defense of three consecutive Class 4A state championships with a 70–34 victory over Mount Carmel High School. Parker contributed 24 points, 9 rebounds and 3 assists. Next Simeon had a March 1 regional championship game against Marist High School, who Simeon defeated 69–43 on February 23 in the City-Suburban Showdown. Simeon won the contest by a 66–31 margin as Parker contributed 17 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists. On non-game days, Parker participated in civic events such as Michelle Obama's Let's Move! rally at McCormick Place. On March 6, Simeon defeated DuSable High School 73–38 as Parker had 17 points and 8 rebounds to advance to face Young.
The state's number 1 and number 2 teams met on March 8 in the sectional finals (statewide round of 16), with both the Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune predicting three-time state defending champion Simeon would defeat the reigning city champion. Simeon defeated Young 69–51 as Parker scored 29 points and had 13 rebounds. On March 12, Simeon defeated New Trier High School 63–54, as Jabari Parker posted a game-high 23 points. On March 15, Simeon defeated Proviso East High School by a 68–56 margin to earn a berth in the IHSA Class 4A state finals. In that game, Parker contributed 20 points and 15 rebounds to celebrate his 18th birthday. The following night, Parker led Simeon to its fourth consecutive IHSA class 4A state championship with a 58–40 victory over Stevenson High School, matching Manual High School's IHSA record of four consecutive IHSA basketball championships. In the process, Parker, who scored 20 points and had 8 rebounds, became the second player (Sergio McClain) in IHSA history to start for four consecutive state basketball champions. Simeon finished with a 30–3 record. According to the Chicago Sun-Times's Joe Henricksen, we did not see a healthy Parker until the IHSA playoffs where he averaged 21.7 points and 10.4 rebounds over the course of 7 games. Parker finished his senior season with averages of 18.4 points, 10.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 2.1 blocks and 1.9 steals, while maintaining a 3.71 grade point average.
On January 21, USA Basketball selected Parker as a member of the 2013 USA Junior National Select Team for the April 20, 2013 Nike Hoop Summit at the Rose Garden. On February 12, Parker was recognized as a 2013 All-Public League first team selection by the Chicago Sun-Times along with Nunn, Okafor, Alexander and Garrett. Teammates Tate and Pollard were 2nd and 3rd team selections, respectively. That same day, Parker was selected along with future Duke teammate Jones to play in the April 13 Jordan Brand Classic at the Barclays Center. Rosters for the April 3 McDonald's All-American Game at the United Center, which included Parker, were announced February 14 on ESPNU. Ironically, the only other McDonald's All-American from the state of Illinois was a former teammate. Linnae Harper, who was chosen for the girl's game, was a teammate at Black Magnet Elementary School when she was the only girl on the boys team. On March 18, Parker earned the Morgan Wootten Male Player of the Year (Also known as the McDonald's players of the year). The award recognizes "the McDonald's All-American who demonstrates outstanding character, exhibits leadership and exemplifies the values of being a student-athlete in the classroom and the community". He won the award over five other finalists: Aaron Gordon, Aaron Harrison, Andrew Harrison, Dakari Johnson and Wiggins. On March 21, Parker was named the Gatorade Illinois Boys Basketball Player of the Year, which joined him with Rose as a two-time winner and made him eligible to repeat as Gatorade's National Player of the Year. On March 25, Parker repeated as Illinois Mr. Basketball, beating Okafor by a 315–277 point margin, including a 43–40 first place vote margin. However, on March 28, he was unable to defend his Gatorade Player of the Year title, which went to Wiggins who averaged 23.4 points, 11.2 rebounds, 2.6 blocks and 2.5 assists for the year. On April 9, he earned another National Player of the Year recognition, this time by MaxPreps.com. He was a MaxPrep first team All-American with Gordon, Wiggins, Nigel Williams-Goss and Stanley Johnson. On April 17, he was a first team All-USA selection by USA Today along with Wiggins, Aaron Harrison, Randle and Okafor. On May 18, he was named a 2013 Parade All-American. Following the demise of ESPN HS, HighSchoolHardwood.com undertook several honoraria selections. Parker was a HighSchoolHardwood.com First Team All-American selection along with Wiggins, Okafor, Aaron Gordon and Williams-Goss.
Following a 90-minute April 1 practice session for the April 3, 2013 NCAA Men's Basketball All-Americans, coach Mike Flaherty said "Jabari is the most complete player on my team,...You look at all the other kids and you see there is one area where they are going to have to improve." Parker was widely praised as impressive in his practice session by those in attendance. During the McDonald's All-star game played at the United Center in his hometown, Parker scored 10 points on 4-for-13 shooting and added 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks, contributing to a 110–99 West victory. At the April 13 Jordan Brand Classic played at the Barclays Center, Parker was co-MVP along with Randle. He had 16 points, 7 rebounds and 2 assists to help lead the West team to a 102–98 victory. At the April 20 Nike Hoops Summit held in Portland, Oregon, Parker had a team high 22 points and 7 rebounds as the U.S Junior National Select Team was defeated 112–98 by the World Select team.
Parker entered the summer of 2012 as the consensus number one player in the country until he was sidelined with a foot injury. On August 28, he was passed in the Rivals.com Top 150 by Julius Randle. On October 25, Andrew Wiggins reclassified into the class of 2013 and displaced Parker as the number one player in the class according to some experts, including ESPN. Parker is currently the number two rated player in the class of 2013 by ESPN and the number three by Scout.com behind Wiggins and Randle. Parker concluded his high school career as the fourth rated player in the class of 2013 according to Rivals, behind Wiggins, Randle and Aaron Gordon.
|Name||Hometown||High school / college||Height||Weight||Commit date|
|Chicago||Simeon (Illinois)||6 ft 7 in (2.01 m)||215 lb (98 kg)||Dec 20, 2012|
|Scout: Rivals: 247Sports: N/A ESPN grade: 98|
|Overall recruiting rankings: Scout: 3, 2 (SF) Rivals: 4, 2 (SF) ESPN: 2, 2 (SF)|
Rose was not allowed to play varsity as a freshman, while Parker was. Nonetheless, Rose won two state titles as well as two Chicago Public League titles in his three years of varsity competition plus a Chicago Public League title in the sophomore division as a freshman. Parker won two state titles, but no city titles in his first two seasons. When Rose played, the IHSA divided the state into two classes, but during Parker's era the state was divided into four classes, making it easier for Parker to win state titles. Simeon went 120–12 during Rose's varsity team era. Simeon went 55–11 in Parker's first two seasons. Parker's supporting cast, which includes three players ranked in the top 25 in the nation at their position, is considered much stronger. As a junior Parker led his team to its first city title since Rose's 2007 team.
Parker is a more high profile underclassman, while Rose was not as highly regarded until later in his high school career. In addition, Parker lives in a more social media influenced time than Rose. According to Chicago Sun-Times writer Michael O'Brien, as of November 2011[update], Rose had a 3–0 advantage in defining moments: "the back-to-back dunks against Washington in the city championship at the United Center, the game-winning shot in overtime to give Simeon the state championship against Peoria Richwoods and the dismantling of Oak Hill, the top-ranked team in the country." Rose's game against the Oak Hill team with Brandon Jennings, Nolan Smith and Alex Legion on ESPN is described as Rose' national introduction. Although there are natural comparisons to Rose, his game is most often compared to Grant Hill and Paul Pierce. Dime Magazine describes him as "Grant Hill with a jump shot". Parker claims to model his game after Paul Pierce and Carmelo Anthony. He hopes to be regarded as the best high school basketball player in the history of the city of Chicago and has stated "Being compared to Derrick also drives me. I know if I get better than him or break the records he broke I could be one of the best players to come out of Chicago. I look forward to being one of those players."
Because of the title of the Sports Illustrated story that compared Parker to LeBron James, there were comparisons. Writers, such as Sporting News' Mike DeCourcy, stated that although Parker is a rare talent, he had not eclipsed Greg Oden and was thus only the best high school basketball player since Oden. In addition, Parker is considered to have a much less developed physique than James at the same stage of development. CBS Sports' Jeff Borzello also contested the proclamation, pointing out that since James 2003 class both Dwight Howard (2004) and Oden 2006 were both consensus top players in their classes and that Parker might not be any better than the most recent consensus, Oden. In addition, CBS noted that Parker might not even be the best high school basketball player in the country, given the development of class of 2014's Andrew Wiggins. Chicago Tribune writer Mike Helfgot described the Sports Illustrated comparison as "incredibly irresponsible journalism", noting he had once worked for the Star-Ledger when it described Derrick Caracter as the next James.
Following his four consecutive championships with Simeon, Parker (and Chicago's Simeon) were compared to McClain (and Peoria's Manual). Peoria's Journal Star emphasized that McClain was 32–0 as a starter in IHSA play because in the 1994–97 time period the IHSA was only divided into two classes. Thus, Manual had to wade through an 8-round tournament instead of the 7-round modern 4-class format. However, Simeon won 6 of its 7 games in its final championship by more than 10 points, while Manual only won 3 of its 8 by such a margin. In the postgame press conference, Simeon Coach Smith emphasized that his team had to endure the pressure of playing a national schedule that included games against elite teams in distant venues. Note, that with the 4-class system rather than the 2-class system of the past, the 2013 Class 3A IHSA champion was CPL runner-up Morgan Park, who split 2 neutral court 2013 games with Simeon. As noted above, Rose-era Simeon teams only won 2 championships in the 2-class era. Adding Parker's 55-11 start to a 33–1 junior year and a 30–3 senior season gives him a 118–15 legacy compared to Rose's 120–12.
After he recovered from his high school senior season injury and verbally committed to Duke, Parker was projected by the press as a true freshman starter for Duke. Parker has stated that his expectation of himself will be to fill in Ryan Kelly's shoes, stating "I'll replace what Ryan Kelly has done, I play the same position, we're about the same size. I can pick up what he laid down". Parker's expectations of himself were echoed by the press who expect him to help offset the loss of seniors Mason Plumlee, Seth Curry and Kelly. In late April 2013, ESPN's Jason King projected Duke as a top 5 team noting "The biggest reason for optimism is incoming freshman Jabari Parker." A few days later USA Today journalists Nicole Auerbach and Scott Gleeson projected Duke as the number 4 ranked team and stated "Jabari Parker will make an immediate impact". On April 30, ESPN's Eamonn Brennan went so far as to name him a second team 2013-14 pre-offseason All-American selection.
On May 2, Duke announced that Parker had officially signed his National Letter of Intent (NLI). The Charlotte Observer reported that Parker signed his NLI at Simeon on May 1 and that he would wear the number 1, a number only previously worn at Duke by Kyrie Irving. Parker will begin his Duke career in the 2013 Champions Classic at his hometown United Center against Wiggins' 2013–14 Kansas Jayhawks. In June 2013, Sporting News' Mike DeCourcy named Parker the second best power forward (behind Doug McDermott) for the upcoming season. During the summer, he participated in the Nike sponsored Chi-League, a 9-weekend 10-team Chicago summer pro-am league, where he teamed with Alexander.
On September 6, Sporting News named Parker to its preseason All-American first team (along with Doug McDermott, Marcus Smart, Mitch McGary and Andrew Wiggins), while teammate Rodney Hood was a third team selection. USA Today named him to the its preseason first team as well (along with McDermott, Smart, Randle and Wiggins. Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook named Parker a preseason second team All-American, while naming teammate Rasheed Sulaimon a fourth team selection. CBS Sports selected Parker as a preseason All-American (second team) selection along with teammate Hood (third team). As Duke began its training camp, Krzyzewski said the team would be built around Hood and Parker.
On October 16, Parker was named preseason All-ACC along with Hood, C. J. Fair, Joe Harris and Jerian Grant. With Hood and Parker, Duke earned 50 of the 54 first place votes, making them the media's choice as the ACC favorite. Parker was also named the preseason ACC Rookie of the Year. On November 4, he was named to the preseason 10-player watchlist for the Wayman Tisdale Award along with Tyler Ennis, Gordon, Aa Harrison, An Harrison, Kasey Hill, Randle, Wayne Selden, Wiggins, and James Young. He was also on the 15-man Oscar Robertson Trophy Preseason Watch List. Parker was one of nine freshmen named to the 50-man Wooden Award preseason watchlist.
On October 18, Duke held its "Countdown to Craziness", Midnight Madness celebration. Parker scrimmaged with what appeared to be a group of starters: Amile Jefferson, Hood, Andre Dawkins and Quinn Cook. After Duke's preseason exhibitions, Evan Daniels of FOX Sports and Scout.com predicted Parker would average 20 points as a freshman.
On November 8, Parker debuted with 22 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 block against Davidson. He made his first five field goals for the Blue Devils. Parker became Krzyzewski's fifth freshman to debut with 20 points and was part of Duke's first game with four 20-point scorers (along with Hood, Cook and Sulaimon) in school history. For his efforts, Parker earned the ACC Rookie of the Week on November 11. On November 13, Parker earned his second Sports Illustrated cover as part of a four-version set of regional covers depicting college basketball's greatest rivalries on the College Basketball Preview Issue. Parker and North Carolina Tar Heels men's basketball player James Michael McAdoo represented the Carolina–Duke rivalry on one of the four regional versions. On November 12 in the Champions Classic at his hometown United Center, Parker posted 27 points, 9 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, and 1 block in a losing effort against Wiggins' Kansas Jayhawks. The game was part of a doubleheader that was well-hyped and widely covered in the press. On November 15, Parker posted a double-double with 21 points, and 10 rebounds as well as 3 assists, 2 steals and 1 block. Parker became 34th-year head coach Krzyzewski's first freshman to debut with three consecutive 20-point performances. As a result, he was named co-ACC Player of the Week (with Olivier Hanlan) and ACC Rookie of the Week on November 18 and was ranked among the ACC leaders in several statistics (23.3 points/game - 2nd, 8.3 rebounds/game – T-2nd, .688 three-point percentage – 1st). With three more 20-point efforts, he earned his third consecutive ACC Rookie of the week on November 25. Parker is the first NCAA Division I freshman since Eric Gordon of the 2007–08 Indiana Hoosiers to open his career with six consecutive 20-point efforts and the first Duke player to open a season with six consecutive 20-point performances since Art Heyman had ten as a junior for the 1961-62 Blue Devils. According to ESPN, when he scored 27 points in Duke's seventh game against Alabama on November 27, he joined Gordon and Kevin Durant of the 2006–07 Texas Longhorns as the only Division I freshmen in the past 10 seasons to score 20 or more in each of their first seven games. Duke Athletics, only credits Durant and Parker (not Gordon) with having scored 20 in their first 7 games, but that disagrees with Associated Press and STATS LLC reporting used by ESPN, which claims that a first half injury in the 2007–08 Hoosier's eighth game kept Gordon from continuing his streak. Durant's streak was ended by the (No. 11 ESPN/USA Today; No. 9 AP) Tasmin Mitchell/Glen Davis-led LSU Tigers on a night when Durant posted a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds. Parker's streak was ended at seven by Aaron Gordon's number four ranked 2013–14 Arizona Wildcats on November 29. On December 16, Parker 21 points and 6 rebounds against Gardner–Webb, and he tallied 23 points and 8 rebounds against UCLA on December 19. As a result of his 22-point 8-rebound average for the week, Parker earned his fourth ACC Rookie of the Week honor. The UCLA game marked his 9th 20 point game and 3rd double double of the season. He passed Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng and tied J. J. Redick and Johnny Dawkins for third on Duke's freshman 20-point game list. Parker had his 10th 20-point game against Eastern Michigan on December 28, tying Mike Gminski for second among Duke freshmen.
Parker had his first single digit game in Duke's 2013–14 ACC season opening 79–77 loss against Notre Dame. With the loss, Duke fell from the top 10 in the AP Poll for the first time in 122 weeks of the poll (since November 19, 1997). On January 18, Parker scored 23 against NC State, tying him with Gene Banks for most 20-point games by a Duke freshman. On January 22, Parker posted 17 points, 3 blocks and a career-high 15 rebounds against Miami with Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade in attendance. On January 25, Parker tallied 14 points, 3 steals and 14 rebounds against Florida State to help Mike Krzyzewski win his 900th game at Duke. His effort at Florida included 10 offensive rebounds, a Duke freshman record. As a result, Parker earned his fifth ACC freshman of the week recognition on January 27. Parker scored 21 points and had 11 rebounds on January 27 against #18 Pittsburgh. With his 12th 20-point game, he established a Duke record for freshmen and moved into 6th place on the ACC freshman list. Against number two ranked Syracuse on February 1, Parker posted 15 points, nine rebounds and 2 steals, leaving him just shy of his fourth consecutive double-double. On February 3, Parker earned Co-ACC rookie of the week with Tyler Ennis marking his sixth selection. Later that day, Parker posted 21 points along with 8 rebounds, 2 steals, and 2 blocks against Wake Forest, marking his 13th 20-point game, which tied him with Mark Price for fifth all-time among ACC freshmen. On February 8, Parker scored 29 points and added 16 rebounds and 3 blocks against 2013–14 Boston College Eagles men's basketball team. This marked career highs in points and rebounds, placed him in the lead in ACC double-doubles for the season and moved him into fourth place tie among ACC freshmen with Tyler Hansbrough for 20-point games. Parker earned his second ACC player of the week and seventh ACC rookie of the week recognition on February 10. On February 15, Parker posted 23 points (including the game-winning dunk), 8 rebounds and 2 blocks against Maryland, marking his 15th 20-point performance and tying Joe Smith for third on the all-time ACC freshman list. On February 17 Parker earned his eighth and fourth consecutive ACC Freshman of the Week honor. This left him two short of the record 10 ACC Freshman of the Week honors set by Kenny Anderson (1990) and tied by Hansbrough (2006).
On January 15, Sporting News selected Parker to its midseason All-American first team (along with Smart, Nick Johnson, McDermott and Kyle Anderson). On January 22, Parker was one of five ACC players (along with Tyler Ennis, C. J. Fair, Rodney Hood and T. J. Warren) who were recognized on the John R. Wooden Award Midseason Top 25 Watchlist. Over the next two days he was selected to the 23-man Oscar Robertson Award watchlist (along with Ennis, Fair, Hood and Lamar Patterson) who were and the 9-player Integris Wayman Tisdale Award Midseason Watch List (along with Ennis) by the United States Basketball Writers Association. On February 13, Parker was one of four ACC players (along with Ennis, Fair and Patterson) who were named to the 30-man Naismith College Player of the Year midseason watchlist.
In October 2010, Parker was among the 18 players who participated in the 2011-12 USA Developmental National Team mini-camp giving him an automatic invitation to the June 10–18, 2011 tryouts for FIBA U16 competition at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Parker was one of four Chicago products to emerge from the 27-man tryouts as part of the 12-man team. He was MVP of the 2011 FIBA Americas U16 Championship, where Team USA won a gold medal. This qualified the United States for the 2012 FIBA U17 World Championship. The team, which was coached by Don Showalter of Mid-Prairie High School, scored over 100 points in each outing. Parker set the USA U16 single-game scoring record of 27 points. In December 2011, he was named USA Basketball's Male Athlete of the Year based on his FIBA Americas performance, which made him the youngest winner ever. While on the stage to accept the award from Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, he claims that he told the mayor "I hope they don't boo me."
He was selected for the USA team that competed in the 2012 FIBA Under-17 World Championship in Kaunas, Lithuania from June 29 – July 8, 2012 along with Simeon teammate Nunn and Whitney Young rival Okafor. The team won the gold medal, although Parker missed some games, including the semifinal, with an ankle injury.
Parker is of Tongan and African American descent. His parents are Folola "Lola" Finau-Parker and Sonny Parker. His father, Sonny, a Chicago native, played for the Texas A&M Aggies before becoming a 1976 NBA Draft first round selection (17th overall) by the Golden State Warriors. He played in the NBA for six seasons. Sonny was an NBA teammate of Washington Huskies men's basketball head coach Lorenzo Romar. He is now afflicted with kidney problems that require dialysis, making it difficult for him to attend Jabari's games. His mother, Lola, a Polynesian native of Tonga, is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) and emigrated to Salt Lake City at age three. Her grandfather was the second Tongan baptized by LDS missionaries. Several of Lola's cousins are National Football League athletes, including Harvey Unga, Haloti Ngata and Tony Moeaki. His parents met at a mall when she was a student at Brigham Young University and he was playing for the Warriors. After helping him find a dress shirt, Sonny left her tickets to his game. After he retired and she served her mission, they married and settled in Chicago. The family lives in the South Shore community area where his parents settled after marrying and has turned down two movie offers.
Parker has six siblings. His older brothers are named Darryl and Christian, while his older sisters are named Iman and Tilah. Darryl lettered two years for the Oregon Ducks basketball team, starting for the team in the 1995 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament. Christian played basketball for Brigham Young University–Hawaii.
Lola raised Jabari in the LDS Church. In addition to attending Simeon, Parker attends LDS Seminary two mornings a week, according to ESPN, and three days a week, according to The New York Times, Sports Illustrated and Chicago Sun-Times. At the time of his sixteenth birthday, he became a LDS priest (as is customary in his faith). He has both performed baptisms and administered the weekly sacrament. In addition, he regularly travels with his bishop during his monthly visitations to comfort the sick, the poor and the elderly.
Parker works out with basketball trainer Tim Grover. Jabari prefers individual training sessions with his brother Darryl instead of playing pick-up games. Following his sophomore year, ESPN reported that he had a 3.4 grade point average. By the end of the first semester of his junior year, The New York Times reported his GPA was 3.7. By April of his junior year, his GPA was 3.63, ranking 18th in his class of 377 and his extracurricular activities includes service as the principal-appointed president of student representatives to the local school council, a youth basketball instructor, and a volunteer for Operation PUSH, The Salvation Army and the New Beginnings Church. At the time of his May 2012 Sports Illustrated feature story, he was known for carrying a backpack equipped with basketball equipment, an iPod and a copy of the Book of Mormon.