Entering last Saturday’s Chicago Elite Classic, most of the chatter revolved around three-time defending state champion Simeon Career Academy’s season-opener against Milton High School (Georgia). Reason being, the status of the nation’s No. 2 overall ranked senior Jabari Parker.
Sidelined since the summer while dealing with a fracture in his right foot that was suffered during the FIBA U-17 World Championships as a member of the U-17 Team USA squad, Parker was not expected to play for the Wolverines as of Friday; however, he decided that he had rehabbed his injury enough to the point that it was indispensable for him to join his teammates for their opening game.
Limited to just 10 minutes of action, Parker scored six points, grabbed four rebounds and handed out two assists for the Wolverines in a 56-35 victory over Milton in which they led from start-to-finish.
“This is our last time we’re going to play, and we’re trying to go out to win a national championship. So every game is like our last,” the 6-8 small forward said. “I had a second opinion from last week, and they said to take my time. But I felt good and the most important thing I had was my faith. God just helped me out and everything goes to him today.”
Parker, who is deciding between BYU, Duke, Florida, Michigan State and Stanford, without doubt showed signs of rust in his first game back since July, though he viewed it as just another step in the recovering progress.
“I felt good,” Parker said. “Of course I had some bumps and bruises coming in, but as the game progressed I was a little sore. But I’m learning how to get my wind back and trying to get back in shape.”
Parker, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, made national headlines a week prior by deciding to forego a highly publicized Mormon mission and attend college in the fall. He has already took four of his five scheduled official visits to BYU, Duke, Florida and Michigan State, and plans to take his fifth to Stanford before announcing his decision in either January or February. Duke and Michigan State continue to be mentioned as the leaders and the consensus believes that Parker will decide between the two schools. Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo was in attendance at the Chicago Elite Classic on Saturday while the Blue Devils were coming off of their eighth straight victory of the season against Delaware.
BALLISLIFE Highlights from Jabari Parker’s return to the court at the Chicago Elite Classic:
By Chad Lykins