McDonald’s All-American Game: Simeon’s Jabari Parker to keep No. 22 at Duke
BY MICHAEL O’BRIEN email@example.com April 3, 2013 10:45PM
CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 03: Jabari Parker #22 of the West blocks a shot by Dakari Johnson #41 of the East during the 2013 McDonald's All American game at United Center on April 3, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Updated: April 4, 2013 12:18AM
Jabari Parker’s domination of the state tournament didn’t seem to endear him to the fans in Peoria. Parker left with four state titles in four years, but he didn’t enjoy a standing ovation as he left the court for the final time last month.
That wasn’t a problem Wednesday at the United Center. The crowd was on Parker’s side throughout the night, even quieting down late in the second half to listen to him speak in a canned feature on the Jumbotron.
“It was like homecoming,” Parker said. “I know I represented all the high school players and the city of Chicago.”
Parker finished with 10 points, eight rebounds, three assists, two blocks and two steals while helping the West team to a 110-99 victory over the East.
Parker’s highly publicized matchup with No. 1 prospect Andrew Wiggins ended in a draw. Wiggins finished with more points but didn’t display an all-around floor game. Parker also was effective guarding Wiggins.
“[The matchup against Wiggins] went pretty good,” Parker said. “He is super athletic, so I had to overcommit on the drive. But then he can shoot, so it was really difficult.”
Wiggins scored 19 points, shooting 6-for-10 from the field and 7-for-8 from the free-throw line.
“Me and Jabari, we are friends, both great players,” Wiggins said. “I know I’m going to see his face a lot at the next level and the level after that. I consider it a great learning experience. I’m just glad to be here. Going against Jabari is just the best going against the best.”
MVP Aaron Gordon outshined both players, finishing with 24 points and several highlight slams for the West.
For the first 10 minutes of the first half, Parker played a complementary role, rebounding and assisting. He also missed a handful of shots.
With 9:45 to play in the half, Parker grabbed a rebound and drove the baseline for a dunk. The dunk seemed to give him confidence, and he started attacking Wiggins.
Wiggins is considered a superior athlete to Parker, faster and more explosive. So it was a surprise when Wiggins tried to blow by Parker to get to the basket and couldn’t. Wiggins made his crossover move, and Parker was right there, still in front of him. Parker was called for a foul, but that was a major moral victory for his status as a high-level NBA lottery pick.
Just one possession later, the situation was reversed. Parker had the ball on the perimeter, and Wiggins was defending. Parker blew by Wiggins, who was forced to try to stop him with his hands. A foul was called, and Parker drained both free throws.
Mount Carmel coach Mike Flaherty, who coached the West squad, enjoyed finally getting a chance to mentor Parker.
“It was great playing for coach Mike,” Parker said. “A lot of people don’t know I was about to go to Mount Carmel if I didn’t go to Simeon.”
Parker teased the media during the news conference, dropping a hint that he might be back playing in Chicago sooner than expected, possibly next season with Duke.
“It’s not bittersweet,” Parker said. “I think I have another game soon. It’s on the [down low] right now.”
Parker had a chance to put an exclamation point on his career as the clock wound down. He had the ball on a fast break with 34 seconds to play and a clear path to the basket.
But Parker, ever the humble star, passed off to Nigel Williams-Goss. He claimed he never considered slamming home his final high school points.
“No, I just wanted to play the overall game,” Parker said. “I knew he was ahead of me and it would be selfish if I took it all the way myself.”