MORE BOSSI: Groce can recruit to Illinois
Before he even started high school, there were high expectations for Jabari Parker. Through three seasons, he's not only lived up to, but exceeded them.
A 6-foot-8 junior at Chicago (Ill.) Simeon, the No. 2 player in the 2013 Rivals150 is well on his way to one of the most decorated careers in Illinois history after a monster junior season.
"It was a pretty good year for Jabari," his father Sonny told Rivals.com. "Simeon won that third straight state title and he was named Gatorade state player of the year and then won Mr. Basketball.
"His goal going into the season was that he wanted to win a city a championship which is tough to do. But, they won that and the state championship."
One of the nation's truly elite prospects, Parker can do a little bit of everything. He shoots with range, has a great feel around the rim and in transition and he's gotten bigger and better each year.
This season, he took steps to stop others from scoring.
"Defensively," said the elder Parker when asked where his son had improved the most. "He had one game where he had 12 blocks and he averaged like three or four blocks a game. His defense has gotten so much better. (Simeon) plays all man now and is done with the zone. His range has also gotten better, he is shooting from NBA range now."
Last year, Parker transformed his body by losing a bunch of weight. Almost too much actually. Now, he's building it back up naturally through physical maturation.
"His body is starting to develop," said Parker. "We haven't done any training for that, it's just come as he's getting older. His explosiveness and quickness has really improved."
As a five-star prospect, Parker has long had his choice of the nation's top programs. Duke, Kentucky, Kansas, North Carolina, Michigan State, Ohio State, Washington, Northwestern, DePaul, Texas A&M and countless others have come calling.
Of course, his home state's university went through a recent coaching change and everybody wants to know if Illinois still has a chance with John Groce at the helm.
In order to stay in the mix, the new Illini coach will definitely have to forge a relationship to replace the one that had been built by Bruce Weber and his staff. But, he has time to do it.
"I talked to John Groce yesterday for the first time," Parker told Rivals.com. "I haven't really talked to Jabari about it yet. He's still considering Illinois because they are the home school but he had a relationship with Bruce Weber and the old coaches at Illinois that goes back to the fifth grade."
With the high school season behind him, Parker is now turning his attention to the grassroots circuit. Once the hunter, he's now become the hunted and hasn't lost any desire to improve or compete.
"He just wants to continue to get better," said Parker. "He doesn't want to just stay the same, he wants to continue to evolve.
"Jabari said to me, "Dad, they are coming at me." But, he also said that he's coming at them now."
Now that he's successfully navigated his first three years with resounding success, the scrutiny of Parker's game will only intensify. Living in a big media market the media and attention follows him everywhere he goes but the 17-year-old is focused and appreciative of all the awards and accolades that have come his way.
Next up, though, Parker will have to start thinking about his recruitment. But, like he's done all along, he's going to take his time with things to make sure he picks the right program.
"I think he's going to narrow it down during the summer," said Parker. "Then he'll start taking his visits and going through the recruiting process. He wants to have a relationship with his coach. He wants to be around good character kids. He wants to develop as a player and a person and he wants to win a national championship.
"When he commits, there's not going to be any de-commitments. So, he wants to make sure he makes the exact right choice."
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