July 24, 2008
Class Of 2013 Player Watch: Jabari Parker
By Illinois Prep Bullseye
For Jabari Parker, it is all about development--physically, mentally, emotionally and socially. Let's begin with the physical aspects. The 6'3 eighth grader to be at Robert A. Black elementary school on Chicago's south side is already considered by many to be among the top ten basketball prospects in the nation from the class of 2013. He is capable of playing all five positions on the court. At Robert A. Black, Jabari jumps center, brings the ball up the floor, and simply does whatever is asked of him.
However, this is only a small part of who Jabari is. It gives people only a small taste as to why he figures to be one of the most talked about basketball players in the state of Illinois over the course of the next five years, as well as one of the most heavily recruited.
Jabari's father is Sonny Parker, who is a Chicago basketball legend, having been a high school star at Farragut and having also played in the NBA with the Golden State Warriors. Parker trains several Chicago area high school basketball players and knows better than perhaps anyone in the Windy City what it takes to get to the next level. That is exactly why Sonny is making sure that Jabari keeps his priorities in order.
One of the top priorities is making sure that Jabari continues to take care of business in the classroom. No problem there whatsoever. Jabari is a honor roll student and currently sports a 3.8 g.p.a. Another priority that is right at the top of the list is spiritual development. As Sonny told us, "God comes first. I have already had Jabari tell one of his coaches that he couldn't make a tournament because he had to attend church that day. If given the same situation again in the future, that is how he would handle it every time."
Getting back to the physical side, while Jabari is currently 6'3, his growth plates are absolutely huge. In fact, after meeting with Dr. Kathy Weber, who is one of the team doctors for the Chicago Bulls, it was learned that Jabari could grow to be as tall as 6'9. As a result of his rapid growth, Sonny told us that Jabari's knees are often hurting him. " I have him doing plenty of stretching every day in order to add flexibility and make sure that he takes care of his knees," Sonny said.
Just as important as his physical development is Jabari's social and emotional development. Sonny believes that it is important that Jabari is able to interact with players from different age groups and cultural backgrounds. He does this on a weekly basis by playing alongside or against many of Chicago's top players from the inner-city, many of whom are older than him. He also takes an Amtrak train twice a week to Milwaukee to work out and scrimmage with players there.
On the traveling team circuit, Jabari plays for the Rising Stars Dream Team, which is absolutely loaded with young talent, including 6'8 Thomas Hamilton Jr. who plays at Chicago's famed Beasley Elementary School on the south side, and 6'6 Alex Foster from Plainfield, IL. Parker, Hamilton and Foster are considered by most everyone to be the top three players in Illinois from the class of 2013.
With his enormous skill set, there is no question that Jabari will be a heavily coveted player at the college level and has already begun to hear from a number of schools. However, Sonny emphasizes that college is something that can wait--at least for now. Instead, he is focusing on helping Jabari choose a high school. Right now there are six schools in the running--Simeon, Whitney Young, Brooks, Fenwick, De LaSalle and St. Joseph and plenty of factors will be considered when it comes to deciding which offers the best fit.
The final piece to the puzzle, as Sonny tells us, is making sure that Jabari stays focused and maintains a strong work ethic. "As long as he does that", Sonny says, " the rest will take care of itself." Sonny believes that all of the aforementioned factors play a huge part in making that happen.
It is quite apparent to us that Jabari has a work ethic and a maturity level that is stronger than most players his age. When you combine that with the fact that he has an outstanding support system in his corner, there is no doubt in our mind that he is a young man who is destined for success. With that being said, we believe that the best is yet to come.
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