Growing up in Chicago, Jabari Parker has always been looked at as a potential star. The son of an NBA player who often played with older guys, he began his high school career under a microscope. So far, he's thrived.
Now a sophomore at mighty Chicago Simeon, the 6-foot-7 small forward isn't just one of the best players locally, he's one of the best nationally in the class of 2013.
Parker, the son of Chicago hoops legend and former Golden State Warrior Sonny Parker, has earned his five-star status and national ranking, but at the same time he's remained a very grounded and mature kid who credits those around him for his early success.
"The people that I'm surrounded by, I come from a lot of good people," Parker told Rivals.com. "Coach (Robert) Smith, my family, the people on my team, we all get along. When I need them the most I can always lean on them and ask them for help, I'm glad I've got them with me."
One of the most highly skilled wing players, regardless of class, Parker is an intelligent player. He can shoot from deep, gets to the rim, rebounds, takes pride defensively and is a good passer who feels he's far from complete.
"I'm able to shoot the ball, put it on the floor, get rebounds and penetrate gaps and dish the ball," said Parker. "I want to keep working on my defense. Sometimes I get lazy and miss out on boxing out and things like that."
Leading a team that is ranked in the top 10 nationally isn't an easy task for a sophomore. But, Parker has moved into the leadership role effortlessly.
"Coach Smith has prepared me and I've trimmed down a bit and gotten more athletic," said Parker. "I've been more aggressive this year too."
Currently ranked as the No. 11 player in his class nationally, the swingman already has his pick of schools and has drawn offers from Duke, Michigan State, Washington, Kansas, Illinois, Northwestern, DePaul, Purdue, Texas, Texas A&M, among others. In fact, Parker has an easier time listing those that haven't offered - notably Kentucky and North Carolina.
For now, Parker is focusing on winning a state title with Simeon. This summer, he'll hit USA Basketball and will play for the D-Wade Flash.
Outside of that, he's content to keep working on his game and improving. He knows the spotlight is there, but he's neither overly attracted to nor afraid of it, and will take his time while choosing a college.
"I'm going to take my time," said Parker. "My plan is to wait it out until my senior year."