Quietly, under the cover of National Signing Day in college basketball, another prospect with star potential accepted one of the highest honors in high school basketball.
Jabari Parker, a 6-8, 220-pound forward from Simeon Career Academy (Il.) and the Class of 2013, has won the Gatorade National Player of the Year as the best player in the country.
Parker averaged 20.1 points, 5.1 assists, and 3.4 blocks per game this past season, leading Simeon to a 32-1 record in the 2011-12 season. They finished as the No. 4 team in the country, according to MaxPreps.com.
He is the top-ranked player in the Class of 2013 and could have his choice of nearly any program in the country, but focus has been on schools that include Kentucky, Michigan State, Louisville, North Carolina, Ohio State, Duke, Kansas, and hometown teams Illinois, Northwestern, and DePaul.
Parker is hailed as a well-rounded player with good size and ballhandling skills, with still another year to polish his skills before heading to college.
Florida’s Bradley Beal won the award last season and past winners include LeBron James, Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant, Alonzo Mourning, and Kevin Love. Mourning was in attendance as Parker accepted his award.