Jabari Parker

Jabari Parker is a rare breed: a humble, high school phenom


If you don’t know who Jabari Parker is yet, you won’t have to wait long.

With next season’s freshmen class all but determined, the Class of 2013 is now the focus of all college hoops recruiting circles, and Parker is the biggest name in the country. A 6-foot-8 small forward from Chicago’s South Side, Parker — who has a 3.6 GPA and is just finishing up his junior year at Simeon High School, which counts Derrick Rose as an alum — was recently named the Gatorade National High School Player of the Year.

But Parker, who is black, is so much more than the stereotypical, high-profile hoops recruit. He’s smart, he’s humble and he’s mormon. Every day, before he goes to school, Parker spends an hour studying the bible. His goal? According to the profile done by Time.com on him, it’s to change the stereotype that people have of him. Not just as a basketball player, but as a black kid from Chicago.

“Right off the bat, they look at a black person as fatherless, as being a thug, teenage boy that’s so good at basketball,” Parker said. “I’m from this neighborhood. I have a good family. And I want to get rid of that cliche.”

Parker’s mother was born in Tonga, which is where he gets his faith. His father, Sonny Parker, played in the NBA, a place Jabari plans on being once he is projected as a top five pick.

I strongly suggest you watch the video linked above, because Parker really is a fascinating kid. A couple of other interesting notes:

– Of the attention he gets as a high-profile player: “It sucks.” He doesn’t like the focus on him, he doesn’t like the expectations and he doesn’t like the results if he makes a mistake any 17-year old would make. In the days of red carpets being rolled out for recruits to announce their college decision, it’s refreshing to hear a star high schooler talk about shunning the limelight.

– Parker was asked how he felt about his coach saying he would be one of the top five players in the league in five years. He said he didn’t believe it, because guys like LeBron and Dwyane Wade would still be around. So who does he model his game after? “Brian Scalabrine,” he said. “One of the unknown people in the NBA. He’s just grateful to be there in that situation. They can’t look at themselves as ‘Oh, I’m a superstar.’ They’re still humble. They’re still open.”

“I want to be like that.”

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

NEW PODCAST: Recapping Feast Week

Kris Dunn
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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We talk about a lot of stuff of the podcast today, mainly because a lot of stuff happened since we last spoke with you all.

For starters, we need to discuss the ‘realness’ of Syracuse and Xavier. Are they both truly top 15 teams, or do they just have top 15 resumes? We also dive into Chris Mack’s epic troll-job of Dayton at the Advocare Invitational final.

Other topics we touched on: Whether or not Scott is ever going to apologize to Wayne Selden, Wichita State’s tournament hopes, Texas A&M and whether we’d take Ben Simmons, Kris Dunn or Denzel Valentine today.

As always, you can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes right here. It’s the quickest way to get access on your cell phone or tablet.


AP Poll: Syracuse, Xavier big winners in college basketball rankings

(Brad Horrigan/The Courant via AP)
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The new college basketball AP Poll is out, and it shouldn’t be much of a surprise to you that Syracuse and Xavier are the big winners.

The Orange steamrolled through a good Battle 4 Atlantis field, while Xavier capped a dominating performance in the Advocare Invitational with a 29-point win over Dayton. It should be no surprise that they are where they are.

[MORE RANKINGS: NBCSports.com top 25 | Coaches Poll]

It is a bit surprising, however, that both Texas A&M and Providence made it into the polls with a loss this week. They both deserve to be there, I just wasn’t sure they were both going to be.

Anyway, here is the full poll:

1. Kentucky (59 first place votes)
2. Maryland (4)
3. Michigan State (2)
4. Kansas
5. Iowa State
6. Oklahoma
7. Duke
8. Villanova
9. North Carolina
10. Virginia
11. Purdue
12. Xavier
13. Gonzaga
14. Syracuse
15. Oregon
16. Vanderbilt
17. Cincinnati
18. Texas A&M
19. Arizona
20. West Virginia
21. Miami
22. SMU
23. Providence
24. Louisville
25. Baylor

NEW THIS WEEK: Syracuse, West Virginia, SMU, Providence, Louisville

DROPPED OUT: Indiana, Cal, UConn, LSU, Wichita State