SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Duke commit, Jabari Parker put together one of the more impressive performances at the 2013 Spalding Hoophall Classic on Monday in Springfield, Mass.
The Simeon Career Academy (Ill.) small forward scored the first 11 Simeon points, en route to a 81-68 win over the storied Oak Hill Academy (W.Va.).
A strong performance on the national stage for the Chicago native only continues the roller coaster year. In July he broke his foot — which he is still recovering from — followed by losing his No. 1 ranking to Andrew Wiggins of Huntington Prep (W.Va.). Parker made an appearance in ESPN’s 30 for 30 documentary Benji and ended his recruitment when he pledged to Duke in December.
Parker, in a nationally televised game, dropped 28 points to go along with five rebounds and two blocks. However the big-time game for Parker comes five days after a teen was shot dead following a Simeon basketball game.
Tyrone Lawson, a 17-year-old was shot and killed after Simeon defeated Morgan Park 53-51 at Chicago State, though a brawl took place during postgame handshakes.
“For me, it was kind of emotional,” Parker said on Monday. “Seeing my city go down with such turmoil.”
Parker, due to his skillset and size is likely a one-and-done candidate at Duke next year. If he can live up to the potential and have a success professional career many imagine for him, Parker has already planned for life after basketball.
“If I so happen to make it one day, I want to be a community activist and just get these kids off the street,” said the 17-year-old Parker.
In the storied tradition of Simeon basketball, Parker’s name is in an elite class with guys like Derrick Rose and the late Ben Wilson, who was highlighted in the Benji documentary. Wilson was fatally shot as a senior at Simeon, when he was tabbed as the nation’s best high school player. Parker told reporters Monday he has never feels in danger in his city.
“I know I’m going to be fine,” said Parker. “I’m always away from all that stuff. I’m never outside in the public.”
“A couple of years ago it was just as bad. Every city has its ups-and-downs.”