MaxPreps.com has Chicago's Simeon High School, where Mormon athlete and basketball recruit Jabari Parker plays, as the best team in the nation, and Lone Peak High School is No. 2.
"After a Wednesday tune-up against Harlan (Chicago), business picks up for the (Simeon) Wolverines with a Thursday trip to Texas to face No. 16 DeSoto," MaxPreps' Jason Hickman wrote Monday. "The contest will be televised by ESPN."
Meanwhile, the Knights are averaging nearly 75 points per outing and outscoring opponents by an average of more than 30 points per game.
Simeon and Lone Peak both played in the prestigious Chicago Elite Classic preseason tournament earlier this month, but the two teams did not play each other. The Knights did turn heads with their performance, however, as SLAM Online's Danny Hazan noted:
"The buzz in the UIC Pavilion Saturday afternoon wasn’t from Simeon senior Jabari Parker making his surprise debut against Milton (GA) in the nightcap of the inaugural Chicago Elite Classic.
It was the reaction of thousands of Chicagoland hoop-heads to their introduction of Utah’s Lone Peak High school.
Led by a three-headed monster, the two-time defending Class 5A state champs in Utah cruised to an 84-46 victory over Illinois powerhouse Proviso East."
That "three-headed monster" is comprised of center Eric Mika and guards T.J. Haws and Nick Emery. The latter two are following in the footsteps of older brothers Tyler Haws (currently playing for the Cougars) and Jackson Emery (a former BYU starter).
The Lone Peak trio and Parker met in person recently when Parker made an official recruiting visit to Provo in late November. During that visit, thousands of fans attempted to woo with social media efforts, fan videos and 6,400 T-shirts reading "Chicago to Provo."
Emery posted a picture of the recruits together with Parker on Twitter, adding, "Hoping we can get this kid to BYU."
While Lone Peak and Simeon have never formally played each other, the teams' stars have matched up on the court.
"Parker is very familiar with the Lone Peak stars who — when playing for a well-traveled Utah AAU team over the past several years — registered two victories over Parker's elite summer team from Chicago," Deseret News columnist Dick Harmon reported.
Mika, Emery and Haws have already committed to the Cougars, but Parker has yet to make up his mind. He has narrowed his short list to Duke, Florida, Michigan State, Stanford and BYU.
Parker will make his decision sometime early next year. The only certainty is that he will not immediately serve an LDS mission, an option that arose after the LDS Church recently lowered the eligibility age from 19 to 18.
For now, both Simeon and Lone Peak will attempt to live up to their national rankings as they defend their respective state championships.
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