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Video: LDS Church building was a hoops haven for Jabari Parker growing up

Published: Monday, Aug. 3 2015 11:22 a.m. MDT

Duke forward Jabari Parker eyes a rebound possibility during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Kansas Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013, in Chicago. (Charles Rex Arbogast, Associated Press) Duke forward Jabari Parker eyes a rebound possibility during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Kansas Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013, in Chicago. (Charles Rex Arbogast, Associated Press)

Duke freshman basketball star Jabari Parker is at home on the hardwood.

That includes the court at his LDS church building in his hometown of Chicago.

Parker's older brother described the church gym as a place where the brothers could go without their parents worrying about their well-being, in a YouTube video released by Duke University.

"The church was literally a place where, if they found out we were there, we can't get in trouble," Chris Parker said. "We could be anywhere on a Friday or Saturday night in the middle of the night, and if they realize we're at the church, there's no reason for them to be that mad at us.

"Having the gym at the church was just easy access all the time. There's nowhere else we really wanted to be."

Jabari Parker and the Blue Devils take on Mercer in the second round of the NCAA tournament Friday. The 6-foot-8 forward has averaged a team-leading 19.8 points and 8.8 rebounds this year and there is uncertainty whether he will stay at Duke beyond this season or declare for the NBA draft.

Not everything about Parker's life is basketball, though.

"I want to help my team hang banners, and be remembered on and off the court," Parker said near the start of the video.

His bishop in Chicago, Danny Nydeggar, also paints the picture of a young man who cares about the lives of others.

"He likes to know about other people, and when you talk to him and ask him a couple questions about his life, whether it's basketball or not, he thinks of something to ask you," Nydeggar said. "He comes with us, and he visits people that are shut in, people that are often forgotten in the community. He visits people who can't make it to church because they're old or for health reasons.

"He likes going and visiting them and lift spirits and do the best that he can to share a positive message and help their spirituality."

Copyright 2015, Deseret News Publishing Company