Simeon’s Jabari Parker wins national player of the year award
BY MICHAEL O’BRIEN firstname.lastname@example.org March 18, 2013 1:24PM
Simeon's Jabari Parker and head coach Robert Smith hug as Parker comes out of the game for the final time. | Patrick Gleason~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 18, 2013 3:12PM
Jabari Parker can’t remember the last day that passed without being interviewed by some type of media member. It’s unlikely any other high school athlete in the country can make the same claim.
Parker’s whirlwind of a winter continued on Monday, as the 6-9 Simeon senior won the Morgan Wootten McDonald’s All American Player of the Year award, given annually to the top male basketball player in the country.
“It’s big time,” Parker said. “I always dreamed of being among the ranks of Chicago players, but now nationwide.”
Parker acknowledged that his season got off to a slow start while he was recovering from a foot injury.
“I just thank God for the ability,” Parker said. “The season wasn’t the greatest but I’m grateful to them for looking into me.”
Shabazz Muhammad won the award in 2012 and Austin Rivers won in 2011.
Parker was one of six finalists for the award, which included Aaron Gordon from Archbishop Mitty (San Jose, CA.), Aaron and Andrew Harrison from William B. Travis (Richmond, TX.), Dakari Johnson from Montverde Academy (Montverde, FL.) and Andrew Wiggins of Huntington Prep (Huntington, WV).
Parker averaged 20 points and eight rebounds this season while leading Simeon to a 30-3 record and the Public League Red-South title.
All the media attention hasn’t been positive, Parker had to deal with some criticism during his injury comeback and after committing to Duke.
“I just have fun with it,” Parker said. “What are you gonna do with criticism, let it ruin your life.”
The four-time state champion also had some advice for Bulls guard Derrick Rose, a Simeon grad.
“Take your time. The only advice you take is what you hear from your body,” Parker said. “I’m anxious. I want him to come back because I’m a fan of the Bulls and they need him, but he has to take his time.”
Parker said he plans to head to Duke in July and enroll in the second summer session.
“It’s time to get back to the basics and get ready for college,” Parker said.
Parker will play in the McDonald’s All American game on April 3 at the United Center.