Jabari Parker, Alonzo Mourning

Faith and family keep 2013 phenom Jabari Parker grounded

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In this current era of recruiting, where many of the top prospects are expected to make little more than a pit stop in college before making millions in the NBA, it’s easy for a player to get caught up in the hype.

But the top player in the class of 2013, Simeon (Ill.) forward Jabari Parker, has been able to avoid falling into that trap thanks to both his faith and his family.

The youngest of Lola and Sonny Parker’s seven children, Jabari has been able to navigate a recruiting world that can be downright treacherous if a player isn’t careful.

His maturity is one of the many reasons why so many of college basketball’s “blue blood” programs hope to receive his commitment when the time comes.

A devout Mormon like his mother, Jabari worships at a church near the University of Chicago and the Parker home, a simple brick bungalow in a working-class section of the city’s largely African-American South Shore neighborhood.

It is not a flashy place, but it is, like Parker and his family, solid.

“I take for granted having two parents and a good inner circle,” he says. “And I know that a lot of people that are superstars in the sports world right now didn’t have a lot of the resources that I have.”

At 6-8 Parker can handle just about any task on the floor, be it scoring both inside and out or setting up teammates for easy looks. In fact, it’s his teammates who are part of the reason why his list has remained as large as it is currently.

“He knows we have a good team, so he passes the ball,” guard Reggie Norris says. “When it’s time for him to step up, he scores.”

Parker takes pride in getting his teammates chances to shine for college scouts. It’s one reason why he’s waited to narrow his own list of finalists. You see, he figures that’ll keep the scouts coming and give his teammates exposure.

According to both Rivals and Scout, Parker’s list includes more than ten schools which includes the likes of Duke, Kansas and North Carolina.

When Parker commits down the line the lucky school will be receiving more than just a highly-skilled basketball player, but a humble young man as well.

Raphielle is also the assistant editor at CollegeHoops.net and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Utah lands top-75 center Jayce Johnson

Larry Krystkowiak
AP Photo
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Utah picked up its center of the future on Monday as four-star center Jayce Johnson pledged to the Runnin’ Utes, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. The 7-foot Johnson recently cut his list to Cal, Colorado and Utah with the possibility of reclassifying to the Class of 2015.

Regarded as the No. 67 overall prospect in the Class of 2016, Johnson will look to attend Utah in December as a walk-on who will redshirt. While Johnson likely won’t play this season, he does give head coach Larry Krystkowiak another big man to use in practice to go against sophomore center Jakob Poeltl. A solid long-term prospect, Johnson has a good frame to add weight and he’s also skilled finishing with both hands. Utah now has its replacement for Poeltl if he opts to leave for the NBA after the season and he gets an extra semester to work with the program.

Johnson is coming off of his official visit to Utah this weekend as he joins junior college guard Jojo Zamora in the Class of 2016.


PHOTO: South Carolina gets new uniforms

Frank Martin
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South Carolina debuted some new uniforms early this week as the school is going with a fresh look and three color ways.

They’re also going to with the “Carolina” branding this season, but I think these new uniforms look pretty cool.