Jabari Parker added yet another accolade to his impressive résumé when he was named 2011-12 Gatorade National Boys' Basketball Player of the Year, becoming the fourth underclassman to win the award in its 27-year history.
The three-time state champion with Simeon (Chicago) is the toughest matchup in high school basketball because of his unique skill set and athletic ability. At 6-foot-9 and about 220 pounds, Parker can score in transition, in the post and out to the arc.
"I really pattern my footwork after Paul Pierce," Parker said.
He can lead the break after a rim-level defensive rebound and is a threat to go coast-to-coast if not brought under control immediately. In the half-court set, Parker can post small defenders and score from both low blocks with his variety of quick and athletic post moves or face and finish above the rim with quick, first-step slashes along the baseline with great touch and body control. On the perimeter, Parker exposes less-mobile defenders with his ability to pick and pop but he can also knock down open 3s, attack the rim or find the open man. Parker also rebounds in and out of his area and can defend both forward positions.
The No. 1 ranked player in the 2013 class is just as impressive off the court.
"Jabari is a caring and giving person. He is very humble," Jabari's father, Sonny, said.
Parker has maintained a 3.63 weighted GPA in the classroom and ranks 18th in his class of 377 students. The principal-appointed President of Student Representatives with the Local School Council, he donates his time as a youth basketball instructor for Derrick Rose's camp for inner city kids and has volunteered locally with Operation PUSH (People United to Serve Humanity), the Salvation Army and the New Beginnings Church. He is also a seminary bible study student and a senior citizen youth ambassador in association with the Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints Hyde Park Ward.
"I am most proud of giving up my time and working the D-Rose camp. I really enjoyed being around the kids," Parker said.
As far as recruiting, Parker said he is going to be cutting his list down soon but right now he has offers and is strongly considering Kentucky, Duke, Georgetown, North Carolina, Kansas, Illinois, Michigan State, BYU, Washington and Florida.
"Jabari really gets it at such a young age," Jabari's mom, Lola, said. "It's all about sportsmanship. He uses his limelight and stardom as a way to do good and to be a great example for his peers. Jabari is not afraid to do things not of the norm."