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Question of the Day
Krzyzewski was there. So were Izzo and Roy Williams (North Carolina), Thad Matta (Ohio State) and Bill Self (Kansas). In all, some 40 coaches looked on, and as word spread that this was no ordinary session, that something special was happening, fans started packing the place, too.
“It was like the movie `Blue Chips’ _ and this was open gym,” Sonny says. “The school had been in session a couple days. They closed down the barber shop, they came over to the school. It was packed in the gym. The coaches were coming in limos. It was unbelievable.”
Parker might grab a rebound, bring the ball up the court and try to set up his teammates as he runs the offense. The next possession, he might bury one from the outside. He averaged about 20 points last season and could probably score 35 a game, but he makes a concerted effort to play within his team’s system and take over only when needed.
“He knows we have a good team, so he passes the ball,” guard Reggie Norris says. “When it’s time for him to step up, he scores.”
Parker takes pride in getting his teammates chances to shine for college scouts. It’s one reason why he’s waited to narrow his own list of finalists. You see, he figures that’ll keep the scouts coming and give his teammates exposure.
Yet, it’s about more than honors and accolades, fame and fortune, to the Parkers. It’s about the impact, on and off the court.
The crowd included Louisville coach Rick Pitino and then-Illinois coach Bruce Weber. Southern California’s Kevin O’Neill was there, too, but it was a father sitting in front of Lola with his three young sons that stood out to her. They kept asking Parker for autographs and pictures as he was warming up. When Lola told the dad she was Jabari’s mother, and would set up the boys after the game, the man was overcome with gratitude.
He said one of his boys was doing terrible in school. So he collected all the articles he could find on Jabari and made his sons read them, hoping they’d be an inspiration. The child with bad grades had turned things around, Lola recalls.
“He said, `You don’t know what impact Jabari has done for my three boys, but it has changed their whole character, their grades, the way they’re thinking and their attitudes,’” she recalls.
After last year’s state championship win, Jabari gave his medal to the son of a former bishop from his church because the boy’s family had traveled all the way from California to see him play.
“That little piece (of metal) doesn’t really mean that much to me, but the memory means a lot,” he says.
The family’s faith is a respite for Jabari, who rises at 5 a.m. three days a week to attend a Bible study at his church before school. On one particular morning, he is the first to arrive, taking the rare moment of quiet to gather his thoughts and pray.
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