It’s good to be prep superstar Jabari Parker these days.
The 6’8″, 240 lbs forward may have led his Simeon Career Academy team to four straight state championships and earned a basketball scholarship to Duke, but the accolades haven’t stopped for Parker yet.
Yesterday, the McDonald’s All-American Game and renowned former Dematha High School (Maryland) head coach Morgan Wootten declared Parker the winner of the 2013 Morgan Wootten Player of the Year Award at a press conference in Chicago, Parker’s hometown. The award is given annually to the best male and female McDonald’s All American players who exemplify outstanding character, exhibit leadership and embody the values of being a student-athlete in the classroom and the community.
Previous winners of the prestigious award from the male ranks include Shabazz Muhammad (2012), Austin Rivers (2011), Kevin Love (2007), Dwight Howard (2004) and LeBron James (2003).
“Being named the Morgan Wootten Player of the Year is very special to me and shows how much hard work, discipline and perseverance can help make dreams come true,” said Parker, who is also an honor roll student and National Honors Society member. “Not only is this honor a reflection of myself, it is a tribute to the people that helped me in my development.”
On Saturday, Parker contributed 20 points and eight rebounds in his team’s 58-40 victory over Stevenson High School in the Illinois 4A State Championship game.
Parker isn’t the first Simeon Career Academy player to garner this much national attention, and his career has stirred up echoes of Benji Wilson, another one of the school’s legends. Parker had a role in ESPN’s 30 for 30 film Benji back in October.
“I’m just glad to be there (in the film) and represent Benjamin for the short life that he lived,” Parker said. “And now, I want to keep him alive and everybody to know that he was one of the good players before me.”
Bulls’ guard Derrick Rose is also a Simeon alum.
In addition to Parker, blue-chip Indiana prospect Taya Reimer was named the 12th annual women’s winner of the award. Reimer is the daughter of 1991 McDonald’s All-American Ben Davis, making her half of the first father-daughter duo in McDonald’s All-American game history. Maya Moore, Candice Parker and Ivory Latta are all former Wooten award winners.
“It is truly an honor to be named the Morgan Wootten Player of the Year. Coach Wootten is not only known as a winner on the court but also a winner off the court as a mentor to so many people,” said Remier, who writes for her school newspaper. “To be associated with such a legendary figure in basketball and to join the list of all of the incredible players that have received this award before me is something I will cherish for the rest of my life.”
Parker and Reimer will receiver their awards at an official ceremony on April 2nd in Chicago. The McDonald’s All-American Games are coming up on April 3, and BSO will be covering the games live at the United Center.
Be sure to stay with us and follow @AlBruce7 for all updates on this next generation of NBA/WNBA ballers.