Preps Talk

Jabari Parker receives 'professional' help


Jabari Parker receives 'professional' help

2012 was an interesting year for Jabari Parker. The Simeon senior began the year as the No. 1 player in the country, regardless of class. But by the end of the summer, Parker found himself dealing with an injury to his foot and a drop to the No. 2 spot nationally. Huntington Prep's Andrew Wiggins emerged as the No. 1-ranked preps player from the class of 2013.

Through it all, Parker has maintained an air of positivity about him, choosing not to play into any perceived rivalry between himself and Wiggins. Instead, he decided to keep himself focused on his rehab, his Wolverines team, and where he would go to college. On Dec. 20, Parker announced he'd be attending Duke.

As an elite athlete from a high school with a powerful basketball tradition, Parker's received access to hoops sources and sage advice that the majority of young athletes can't get.

For Parker, the advice and words of wisdom came from Bulls superstar and Simeon alum Derrick Rose and current Los Angeles Clipper and Duke University great, Grant Hill. Both players, at different times, helped Parker through their own individual experience and the young superstar took the information he received from the two basketball greats to heart.

I talked to Derrick during his recruiting process when he was trying to go to Memphis, recalls Parker who is acquainted with Rose because hes been around the Simeon program since he was in the 7th grade. He said that it was good for him because he was going to play right away at the guard position. He also said that it was good to have a good relationship with the coach and whos going to push you and not tell you everything that you want to hear.

Hanging on the words of one of the best players Chicago has ever seen, Parker made a decision to play for a coach in Mike Krzyzewski who will indeed push him and help move him even closer to reaching his potential as a basketball player.

And now that hes officially a part of the Duke family, Parker revealed that when he was hurt, he was in communication with Hill, who happens to know a thing or two about injuries. The 17-year NBA veteran was able to counsel Parker on how to manage his own.

I talked to Grant and he just told me not to rush the process with my injury, said Parker. He had the same problems with his feet so he knows what thats like.

Parker returned to the court on Dec. 1 for the first time since July. He struggled through Simeons games early in the season, but after aggressively attacking his rehab, the All-American has slowly shown improvement in terms of the health of his foot, his conditioning and his on-court play. He finally appeared to have broken out during the Wolverines' march to a championship at the 2012 Pontiac Holiday Tournament.

Parker was given the tournaments A.C. Williams Award after averaging 15.3 points and 8.3 rebounds, becoming the first player to win the award three times.

But despite the individual success he achieves for what he does on the court and the attention he receives, Parker is still focused on getting better as a player and seeing his Simeon Wolverines continue to get better as a group.

All we want right now is a healthy team in February. Weve had to play with different groups of guys along the line and thats going to help us become more versatile as a team, said Parker before joking that the teams cohesiveness and flexibility will help him the most as the elder statesman and veteran of the group.

I dont have the young legs anymore, quipped Parker. Im old. Im a vet right now.

High School Lites Preview: Week Five

NBC Sports Chicago

High School Lites Preview: Week Five

NBC Sports Chicago will have cameras across Chicagoland covering the biggest high school football on the Week Five edition of High School Lites, Friday at 11:00 p.m. Can Notre Dame keep rolling and beat Marian Central Catholic in ESCC play? Can Benet Academy slow Nazareth's high flying offense? Can Wheaton South detour Batavia's drive to the DuKane Conference title? Will Maine South remain the kings of the Central Suburban South or will Evanston have other ideas? And which side of the bitter rivalry are you on...the (Lincoln-Way) East side or the (Lincoln-Way) Central side?

All games are Friday unless otherwise noted. Numbers in parantheses reflect the latest @NBCSPreps Power Rankings.

Thursday: Curie vs Hubbard at Gately Stadium, 7:15 p.m.

EDGY's Take: First-year head coach Arthur Ray Jr. was able to get his Condors (1-3) in the win column with a victory over Taft last week. Curie has played a very difficult non-conference slate. They will feature senior big back AJ Sanya and QB Damarius Johns. As for Hubbard and veteran head coach Elton Harris, they boast a standout, two-way lineman in senior D-1 recruit Kenny Givens. Keep an eye on senior WR/DB Montrell Edmonds as well. Can the Hubbard defense slow down AJ Sanya and the Condors? Can Curie prevent Hubbard from breaking open big plays? 

EDGY's Pick: Curie 22 Hubbard 20

Kenwood at Back of the Yards, 4:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Both Kenwood (4-0, 1-0) and Back of the Yards (4-0, 1-0) are looking to get a leg up in the CPL Illini Prairie State conference race with a win this week. Coach Sinque Turner of Kenwood will rely on several key names including senior WR/DB Mark Aitken (NIU). As for Back of the Yards, head coach Sheamus Murphy features a loaded roster. Keep an eye out on OL/DL Kevin Pacheco. Can Back of the Yards slow down Kenwood's speed and big play potential?

EDGY's Pick: Kenwood 27 Back of the Yards 12

Lincoln-Way Central at (1) Lincoln-Way East, 7:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Lincoln-Way East (4-0, 2-0) has been piling up the points (178) so far this season. Coach Rob Zvonar has the Griffins offense clicking; they're led by Illinois State commit QB Jack Baltz. The first team offense hasn't played a full four quarters yet in 2018. East's defense is also a strength. Don't be surprised if LB Gus Christensen and junior DE Adrian Wilson make some plays. Lincoln-Way Central (3-1, 3-0), under head coach Jeremy Cordell, will look to establish the running game. They'll get the football into the hands of RB Conner McWilliams and RB Justin Ellis as much as possible. Can Central's offense run the football against the East's defense?

EDGY's Pick: Lincoln-Way East 37 Lincoln-Way Central 21

Marian Central Catholic at Notre Dame, 7:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Marian Central Catholic (3-1, 1-1), coached by Mike Maloney, has been getting a big season so far from QB Patsy Ricciardi and RB Luke Rogers. The Hurricanes defense will be tested this week. Notre Dame (3-1, 1-1), under veteran coach in Mike Hennessey, has some weapons on offense led by senior RB Ty Gavin and sophomore QB Anthony Sales. Whose defense comes ready to play for four quarters this Friday? 

EDGY's Pick: Notre Dame 28 Marian Central Catholic 21

Benet at (2) Nazareth, 7:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Benet Academy (3-1, 1-1) is coming off a loss last week to Notre Dame. The Redwings will go back to work on Friday with a major task: trying to slow down one of the state's most explosive offenses in Nazareth Academy (4-0, 2-0). Benet's offense is anchored by junior QB Colin Gillespie and a strong running game with RB Ben Hickey. Their defense is also a strength. Watch for senior DL Jack Benish to make some plays. As for the Roadrunners, head coach Tim Racki has gotten a big year so far from sophomore QB JJ McCarthy. Nazareth also hase a couple of big time playmakers in the likes of senior WR Michael Love and senior WR/DB Diamond Evans. The defense has experience. Keep an eye on senior linemen Cameron Leach and Nathan Lugo. Can the Benet defense limit Nazareth's big play ability?

EDGY's Pick: Nazareth 31 Benet 21

Wheaton Warrenville South at (3) Batavia, 7:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Veteran head coach Ron Muhitch has his Wheaton Warrenville South Tigers (4-0, 2-0) playing well and clicking in all three phases. They will look to establish the run with junior RB Jake Arthurs and QB Noah Henkel. WR Jack Olson is also a top-notch kicker/punter. On defense, the Tigers have allowed just 17 points this season. Batavia (4-0, 2-0) also wants to run the football. Keep an eye out for RB Art Taylor and the play-action passing game. That area of their offense has improved each week under QB Jack Meyers. Batavia's defense features two D-1 names in senior LB Luke Weerts (North Dakota State) and OLB Michael Jansey Jr. (Northwestern). Can the Tigers run the football against the Batavia defense? Can the Batavia offense keep the Wheaton South defense on their heels?

EDGY's Pick: Batavia 27 Wheaton South 17

Warren at Lake Forest, 7:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Lake Forest (2-2, 2-0) struggled a bit early out of the gates but has now won two straight North Suburban conference games, including a big win last week over Lake Zurich. The Scouts have a potent offense led by QB James Swartout and senior WR Ryan Cekay (Colgate). Junior DL Rylie Mills is already a nationally sought-after recruit in the Class of 2020. Warren Township (3-1, 2-0) lost their season opener to Barrington but has since put together three straight wins. On offense, the Blue Devils will get the football into the hands of RB Martin Walker Jr.  Warren's defensive line is a strength behind senior Zach Pelland and junior DT Willis Singleton, Jr. Can the Lake Forest offense move the football against the Blue Devils defense? 

EDGY's Pick: Warren Township 28 Lake Forest 27

(12) Maine South at (16) Evanston, 7:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Maine South (3-1) and head coach Dave Inserra opens Central Suburban South conference play after a strong non-conference showing, including last week's win over Conant. Senior QB Cole Dow has been making more and more progress after filling in for injured starting QB Bobby Inserra. Also, take note of senior RB/LB Jimmy Bartell and junior D-1 recruit OL/DL Peter Skoronski. Evanston (4-0) has been on a roll. They raised a lot of eyebrows in last week's surprise 32-12 win over Barrington. Wildkits head coach Mike Burzawa has weapons on offense including senior QB Ben Tarpey and junior RB Quadre Nicholson. The defense has played well, allowing just 58 points in four weeks. Can Evanston's defense keep Maine South's offense in check? Will Hawks starting QB Bobby Inserra come back this week? Can the Maine South defense slow down the Kits' explosive offense?

EDGY's Pick: Maine South 35 Evanston 28

(5) Brother Rice at Providence, 7:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Brother Rice (4-0, 1-0) is coming off a big 35-3 win over Loyola. The Crusaders have already doubled their win total from a season ago. They've received a big start to the season from senior QB John Bean. He's truly a dual threat in the Rice offense; their line play is also a strength. Providence Catholic (4-0, 1-0), under head coach Mark Coglianese, is off to a strong start as well this fall. The offense has been able to run the football behind a big and physical line, led by junior Jake Renfro. The Celtics have two quality running backs in senior Brenden Martus and freshman Aaron Vaughn. Can the Providence offense run the ball against the Crusader 'D? 

EDGY's Pick: Brother Rice 28 Providence Catholic 14

Viewers' Choice Game 

Oswego East at Plainfield South, 7:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Plainfield South (4-0, 4-0) is off to a terrific start this season. Head coach Bill Bicker and the Cougars will rely on a punishing ground game, led by senior RB/QB Cody Dieball. They boast a very fast/athletic defense which has allowed just 20 points so far this season. Oswego East (4-0, 4-0) has been rolling along. The Wolves, coached by Tyson LeBlanc, have talent this fall including senior WR/DB Justin Clark and a defense that's allowed just six points so far this season. But the schedule ramps up big time starting on Friday with Plainfield South. Can the Cougars run the football, move the chains and match speed against speed with Oswego East? Can the Wolves take away the Plainfield South option game and break some big plays against the Cougars defense?  

EDGY's Pick: Oswego East 14 Plainfield South 13

IHSA Preps Football AP Poll: Week 5

NBC Sports Chicago

IHSA Preps Football AP Poll: Week 5

Here are the latest rankings of Illinois high school football teams in each class, according to an Associated Press panel of sportswriters:

Class 8A

No. Team W-L Pts Prv
1. Lincoln-Way East (9) 4-0 90 1
2. Homewood-Flossmoor 4-0 77 2
3. Maine South 3-1 60 3
4. Oswego 4-0 54 7
5. Marist 3-1 46 8
6. Evanston 4-0 54 7
7. Glenbard West 3-1 32 9
8. Barrington 3-1 31 5
9. Stevenson 4-0 19 NR
10. Bolingbrook 3-1 17 6

Others receiving votes:  Hinsdale Central 14, Loyola 10, Huntley 2, Neuqua Valley 1, Oswego East 1, Waubonsie Valley 1.

Class 7A

No. Team W-L Pts Prv
1. Batavia (3) 4-0 82 1
2. Nazareth (2) 4-0 79 2
3. Brother Rice (1) 4-0 69 4
4. East St. Louis (3) 3-1 68 3
5. Mt. Carmel 3-1 56 5
6. Simeon 4-0 42 7
7. Hononegah 4-0 37 10
8. Belleville West 4-0 18 NR
9. Normal Community 3-1 15 6
10. Lincoln-Way West 3-1 7 NR

Others receiving votes: Wheaton Warrenville South 6, Benet 6, Machesney Park Harlem 5, Rolling Meadows 3, Moline 1, Lake Zurich 1. 

Class 6A

No. Team W-L Pts Prv
1. Cary Grove (7)  4-0 97 1
2. Oak Lawn Richards (3) 4-0 93 2
3. Prairie Ridge 3-1 76 3
4. Willowbrook 4-0 68 4
5. DeKalb 4-0 51 6
6. Phillips 2-2 47 5
7. Providence 4-0 34 7
8. Chatham Glenwood 4-0 31 8
9. Sacred Heart-Griffin (Springfield) 3-1 24 9
10. Normal West  3-1 20 10

Others receiving votes: Niles Notre Dame 6, Yorkville 2, Quincy 1

Class 5A

No. Team W-L Pts Prv
1. Washington (11) 4-0 110 1
2. Montini  4-0 97 3
3. Highland 4-0 78 T-4
4. (tie) Hillcrest 4-0 72 T-4
4. (tie) Sterling 4-0 72 6
6. Dunlap 3-1 51 2
7. Antioch 4-0 47 7
8. Joliet Catholic 3-1 27 8
9. Peoria Central 3-1 22 9
10. Carbondale 4-0 15


Others receiving votes: Decatur MacArthur 6, Mascoutah 3, St. Francis 3, Metamora 1, Sycamore 1.

Class 4A

No. Team W-L Pts Prv
1. Rochester (10) 4-0 118 1
2. IC Catholic (2) 4-0 110 2
3. Taylorville 4-0 86 5
4. Columbia 4-0 74 6
5. Rockford Boylan 3-1 68 3
6. Richmond-Burton 4-0 53 7
7. Coal City  3-1 45 8
8. Morris 2-2 31 4
9. Herrin 3-1 29 10
10. Breese Mater Dei 4-0 22 NR

Others receiving votes: Cahokia 7, Johnsburg 5, Pontiac 5, Raby 5, Freeburg 1, Geneseo 1

Class 3A

No. Team W-L Pts Prv
1. Byron (13) 4-0 130 1
2. Farmington 4-0 100 3
3. Carlinville 4-0 97 4
4. Monticello 4-0 85 5
5. Bishop McNamara 3-1 82 6
6. Williamsville 3-1 70 2
7. Vandalia  4-0 50 7
8. Beardstown 4-0 28 9
9. North Boone 3-1 19 10
10. DuQuoin 4-0 16 NR

Others receiving votes: Pleasant Plains 9, Rock Island Alleman 9, Elmwood-Brimfield 5, Breese Central 3, St. Joseph-Ogden 3, Genoa-Kingston 3, Lisle 3, West Frankfort 1.

Class 2A

No. Team W-L Pts Prv
1. Maroa-Forsyth (12) 4-0 129 T-1
2. Orion (1) 4-0 115 T-1
3. Sterling Newman 3-1 100 4
4. Decatur St. Teresa 4-0 97 5
5. Illini West (Carthage) 4-0 77 6
6. Eastland-Pearl City 4-0 60 9
7. Chicago Hope Academy 3-1 42 10
8. Rockridge 3-1 35 3
9. Bismarck-Henning 4-0 15 NR
10. Marshall 4-0 13 NR

Others receiving votes: Pana 10, Mercer County 6, Hamilton West Hancock 5, Downs Tri-Valley 4, Nashville 3, Deer Creek-Mackinaw 1, Collins 1, Eldorado 1, Red Bud 1

Class 1A

No. Team W-L Pts Prv
1. Lena-Winslow (10) 4-0 118 1
2. Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley (2) 4-0 109 3
3. Camp Point Central 4-0 93 4
4. Ottawa Marquette 4-0 73 5
5. Tuscola 3-1 68 2
6. Princeville 4-0 60 6
7. Aurora Christian  4-0 59 7
8. Argenta-Oreana 4-0 31 9
9. Fisher 4-0 16 NR
10. Milledgeville 4-0 9 NR

Others receiving votes: Madison, Concord (Triopia), Sesser-Valier 4, Annawan/Wethersfield 3, Forreston 3, Dakota 2, Athens 2