Jabari Parker is the real deal.
This spring, some buddies and I made a trip to DePaul's campus gym to see him play in a city tournament game for his storied high school program here in Chicago, Simeon High School, which also produced NBA MVP Derrick Rose. Even as a sophomore with a huge amount of hype, Parker didn't disappoint: He's huge (6-foot-8, 220 pounds, and probably still growing), versatile (he dominated in the paint but also stepped out to handle the ball and hit jumpers) and noticeably competitive (I don't remember seeing him coast on a single possession). As Sports Illustrated's Seth Davis discovered this summer, Parker is also a fascinating, thoughtful kid with a winning attitude.
Like I said: He's the No. 1 recruit in the class of 2013 for a reason. He's the real deal.
Still, you don't see this kind of gathering from college basketball coaches all that often. On Tuesday, 40 college coaches -- 40! -- made the trip to Simeon High to watch Parker play at open gym. As Gary Parrish noted yesterday, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski even showed up in a limo, because Coach K balls so hard, that [stuff's] crazy. ESPN Chicago's Scott Powers was on hand for the event, and it sounds a little surreal:
Krzyzewski was among 40 coaches who took in Simeon's open gym on Tuesday. DePaul coach Oliver Purnell, Illinois coach Bruce Weber, Kansas coach Bill Self, Michigan State coach Tom Izzo, North Carolina coach Roy Williams, Ohio State coach Thad Matta and Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy were among some of the other coaches in attendance.
"It was crazy," said Simeon coach Rob Smith of all the coaches. "It's something I've never been around in my years of coaching."
With a few exceptions, that roster is a who's who of elite college coaches. You know a player is touted when this many guys are willing to take a flight (and a limo!) through the brutal O'Hare traffic to watch a guy who still has two more years of high school basketball in front of him.
Yep, everybody loves Jabari. There's got to be a sitcom pitch in here somewhere.