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July 3, 2012
State champion, national player of the year, USA basketball gold medal winner and still the No. 1 player in the Rivals150 for the class of 2013, Chicago Simeon's Jabari Parker is fighting off a furious charge from a pair of Texans.
The nation's Nos. 2 and 3 players, respectively, are power forward Julius Randle from Plano (Texas) Prestonwood and 6-foot-5 point guard Andrew Harrison of Fort Bend (Texas) Travis. And both made strong plays for the top spot in the post-spring/pre-July rankings, which were released Tuesday.
Randle has been dominant in Nike's Elite Youth Basketball League and was excellent with the 18-and-under national team. Harrison has been equally impressive thanks to his vision, size and ability to run the show.
Still Parker - who is in Lithuania competing with USA Basketball's national 17-and-under team - remains atop the 2013 rankings because of his all-around skill and versatility rolled into a 6-foot-8 package.
"He knows that he has a lot of work and he has a target on his back," Parker's father, Sonny, told Rivals.com after hearing the news his son will retain the No. 1 ranking. "But, he says, 'Dad I know they are coming at me so I'm coming at them too.' "
A skilled wing player who never seems to be in a rush, Parker is also capable of playing as a high post four-man who can pick defenses apart with passing or drives to the hoop. During the spring and early summer, though, Parker hasn't shot the ball quite as well as in the past and it's something he's looking forward to addressing once he has some downtime.
"He really wants to get back in the studio," said Sonny, Parker's father. "He hasn't had a chance to work out individually like he wants to because of his travel schedule with AAU and camps and USA Basketball. He wants to be the best ever."
At the same time, Parker is very appreciative of the places that basketball is taking him. He also tries to stay grounded and according to his father the trips with USA Basketball have gone a long way toward doing so. It isn't just the basketball, but a chance to learn about and appreciate other cultures.
"It is really an honor and a privilege to represent your country and he really enjoys that," Parker said. "Initially he had some doubts about it but then once he realized that he was representing his country he has enjoyed his experience.
"He's really into different cultures and experiencing them. He appreciates where he lives compared to some of the people he's come across outside the commercialism and tourism of it all."
On the school front, Parker has so far declined to list his top schools. Michigan State, Illinios. Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky, Kansas, Ohio State, BYU, Texas A&M, DePaul, Missouri, Northwestern and many others are pursuing him.
"My son still watches cartoons and he's still a kid so I don't want him overly bombarded with the recruitment," his father said. "The coaches have to call me or my wife if they want to call and talk to him; we'll set up.
"After the summer he's probably going to narrow it down to five. At the end he'll narrow it down and take his visits. From what I'm hearing from his mother, if he's still not feeling it with a decision in the fall, then he could wait until the spring."
Following Parker, Randle and Harrison in the new rankings are Harrison's twin brother, Aaron Harrison, at No. 4, and Aaron Gordon of San Jose (Calif.) Archbishop Mitty at No. 5. Aaron Harrison, like his brother, stands 6-feet-5, but is more of a shooting guard and one of the most skilled perimeter players in the country. Gordon, on the other hand, has been sidelined by injury for much of the spring. When healthy, the 6-foot-7 forward is among the nation's most explosive players and an inside/out threat.
There are a total of 20 five-star prospects. Of those in the five-star range, Louisiana power forward Jarell Martin made the biggest leap, going from No. 62 to No. 13 nationally. Also making large jumps into five-star status were Arkansas commitment Bobby Portis, who climbed from No. 56 to 15, and New Jersey forward Jermaine Lawrence, who jumped from No. 64 to 19.
In addition to Parker, five other members of the 2013 Rivals150 are playing with USA Basketball's 17-and-under team. They are Memphis native Johnathan Williams III (No.24), Kansan Conner Frankamp (No. 28), Californian Stephen Domingo (No. 30), big man BeeJay Anya (No. 32) and Parker's high school teammate, Kendrick Nunn (No. 37).
A total of 48 of the Rivals150 have made verbal commitments. Florida has the highest-ranked commitment in Montverde (Fla.) Academy point guard Kasey Hill. A super athlete and attacking driver, Hill is among the nation's most exciting players and checks in at No. 7. North Carolina has the highest-ranked pair of commitments in athletic forward Isaiah Hicks (No. 10) and steady point guard Nate Britt (No. 22). Other programs with multiple commitments from the 2013 Rivals150 are Kansas, Alabama, Illinois, Purdue, Indiana, Michigan, Penn State, Marquette and Iowa State
Two players from the class of 2014 moved up a year and are now ranked among the class of 2013. Physical and athletic combo guard Wayne Selden had been ranked No. 13 in the class of 2014. He makes his debut at No. 21 in the class of 2013. Devon Hall is a Virginia commitment and a heady point guard. The floor general's older brother will actually play football at UVA. Hall enters 2013 at No. 58 after ranking No. 38 in 2014.