The last time the national audience saw Duke 2013 commit Jabari Parker of Simeon Career Academy (Ill.), he did not look the part of the nation’s No. 2 high school player.
In a 67-57 loss to fellow Duke recruit Matt Jones and DeSoto High School (Tex.), Parker struggled to score five points, as he was clearly a shell of himself, continuing his recovering on a broken bone in his right foot he suffered during the summer.
Parker made his return to national television, but unfortunately it was the same result for Simeon, falling to Montverde Academy (Fla.) 82-53 Saturday evening as part of the Cancer Research Classic in Wheeling, W.Va. The game was followed by Montverde senior, Dakari Johnson announcing his commitment to Kentucky.
In a blowout loss to one of the nation’s top teams, a positive came out of this. The 6-foot-8 Parker is back to himself.
“Jabari, he’s back,” Simeon head coach Robert Smith told Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune following the game.
Parker, who has lost 20 pounds as he continues to rehab on his right foot, ended the game with 17 points and 13 rebounds. And in a game televised on ESPN2, the Duke commit had several impressive dunks, reaffirming his place among the top high school players.
“I don’t give myself any excuses; I don’t care if I was out four months,” Parker said after the game.”If I’m going out there, I need to go as hard as possible or I shouldn’t be out there in the first place.”
The Chicago power only had one other player besides Parker to score in double figures, Edward Morrow with 10. The Wolverines will have another chance to make a statement on national television when they played the storied Oak Hill Academy program on Jan. 21, as part of Day 5 of the 2013 Splading Hoophall Classic.
Terrence Payne is the interim editor for Devils in Durham. Follow him on Twitter@terrence_payne