Jabari Parker – The Pride of Simeon

Jabari Parker playing for the Milwaukee Bucks

Jabari Parker playing for the Milwaukee Bucks (By Keith Allison, Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0, image link: flicker, cropped derivative)

Jabari Parker’s road to becoming the No. 2 overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft started early.  By the time he reached fifth grade, Parker stood 6-feet tall and had five Division I basketball scholarship offers. When he chose Chicago basketball power Simeon for high school, Parker wound up becoming the first freshman to ever start for the school’s varsity basketball program. His storied career, while still heating up in the NBA, began when Parker averaged 19.3 points with 5.0 rebounds a game as a high school freshman.

The Pride of Simeon

Parker helped lead Simeon to a state title as a freshman and, after doing it again in his sophomore year, ESPN named Parker the 2011 HS Sophomore of the Year. He averaged 15.3 points with 5.9 rebounds that  year. Parker would go on to lead Simeon to four straight Illinois state championships. He had offers from all of the top programs in the nation but ultimately chose coach Mike Krzyzewski and Duke.

Parker would become the first Blue Devil freshman to ever lead the team in both scoring (19.1) and rebounding (8.7). His scoring average set a Duke freshmen record. Parker was named the ACC’s Rookie of the Year and a consensus first-team All-American. Duke made the NCAA tournament but would lose in a first-round upset to Mercer. After the season, the 6-8, 245-pound Parker decided to enter the NBA Draft.

An Injury-filled Pro Career

The 2014 NBA draft was loaded with the talent after Cleveland selected Andrew Wiggins with the first overall pick, Milwaukee took Parker at No. 2. Parker’s career has been hampered by injuries. After 25 games in his rookie season, Parker went down with a torn ACL ending his season. He averaged 12.1 points and 5.5 rebounds that season and his rehab pushed his return into November of the following season. Parker would start 72 games and average 14.1 points and 5.2 rebounds.

Jabari Parker playing for Simeon
Jabari Parker playing for Simeon (By Bryan Horowitz, Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0, image link: flicker, cropped derivative)

The 2016-17 season would bring more heartache as Parker would tear the same ACL in February. In 50 starts that year, Parker averaged a career-high 20.1 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. It would take an entire year before Parker would play again not suiting up until February 2, 2018. Parker played in 31 games this past season scoring 12.6 points a game. He averaged 10 points a game in the Bucks’ seven playoff games this year.

Parker, a restricted free agent, was presented a qualifying offer by Milwaukee at the end of the 2017-18 season. Parker remains a highly sought after free agent who has averaged 15.3 points and 5.5 rebounds in his 183 NBA games over four years. If Parker does entertain any offers from other teams, the Bucks have the right to match any offer to keep Parker in Milwaukee.

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