Jabari Parker back on the court, not planning to serve Mormon mission at 18

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 4 2012 3:25 p.m. MST

Jabari Parker returned to the basketball court for his senior season this past weekend.

The highly touted high school recruit, sidelined since July with a foot injury, scored six points and grabbed four rebounds in 10 minutes of action as his team, Simeon Career Academy, thrashed Milton, Ga., 56-35, in the Chicago Elite Classic Saturday.

Parker broke his right foot playing with gold-medal winning Team USA at the FIBA U-17 World Championships, but his foot healed in time for his high school's season opener.

"I just wanted to get a feel (on the court) again. I've been out for a long time. I'm trying to get my body back," Parker told Danny Hazan of Slamonline.com. "This is our last time we're going to play, and we're trying to go out to win a national championship. So every game is like our last."

As a junior, Parker was named the ESPNChicago.com Player of the Year, Illinois' Mr. Basketball and the national Gatorade Player of the Year. He averaged 19.5 points, 8.9 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 3.3 blocks and 1.4 steals a game. Parker, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is considered to be among the elite high school players in the nation, according to ESPN.

Parker recently made headlines for announcing he will attend college rather than go on a Mormon mission next year.

"I know for a fact I'm going to college my first year," Parker said on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000.

Parker had the option of serving a mission after high school since the LDS Church lowered the age of mission eligibility to 18. He has not ruled out the possibility of leaving at age 19, he said.

"I'm going to college my first year, but there's still an opportunity to leave at 19, if you want to," Parker told Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune.

Parker has narrowed his list of schools to five, including Duke, Michigan State, Florida, Stanford and BYU. He has made official visits to each school but the Cardinal. Parker revealed that DePaul and Illinois were on his list, but he crossed them off when coaching changes were made.

Parker was in Provo to visit BYU the weekend of Nov. 24. Cougar fans schemed up various strategies to impress the recruit, according to Deseret News columnist Dick Harmon.

A group of BYU fans created a parody video of Psy's "Gangnam Style," called "Jabari Parker Style," to attract Parker's attention. The music video is now classified as "private" on Youtube, but John Basedow and Buzz60 shows clips of the video.

While in Utah, Parker met BYU commits and Utah high school standouts T.J. Haws, Eric Mika and Nick Emery, though Emery has announced that he will go on a mission right after high school. Emery also tweeted this picture of the recruits with Parker.

Email: ttoone@desnews.com Twitter: tbtoone

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