It is always a safe bet the University of Illinois is going to keep a close eye on Chicago powerhouse Simeon. Players such as Nick Anderson, Deon Thomas, Kevin Turner and Calvin Brock , are just some of the players who have attended this high school and gone on to play for the Fighting Illini. With players such as Jabari Parker, Steve Taylor, Jelani Neely, and Kendrick Nunn this year is no different.
What is special about this year's Simeon squad is that, with all of these talented players, everyone has checked their ego at the door in order to achieve the greater goal of a repeat state championship. According to coach Robert Smith, players such as Taylor and Parker are willing to put their recruitment on the backburner and concentrate on team goals.
This concept was in full display in Marion, Illinois, December 10 as Simeon defeated Scott County, Missouri, 76-50. Smith said the key for the offensive outburst for the Wolverines was the intensity on the defensive end of the floor.
The Simeon player who receives the most recognition is Parker, ranked as one of the top ten players in his class nationally. In Saturday night's game the sophomore had a rough first half shooting the ball, but he did not let this affect his overall energy level. Parker was able to find his shooting stroke in the second half and finished with 16 points and 5 rebounds.
Parker is a skilled 6'-7" guard who can pretty much do it all on the floor. He can take over a game at any time by slashing to the hole or lighting it up from behind the arc. The only knock on Parker's game would be his need to add some strength to his frame. But he has plenty of time to be ready for the next level.
Parker's game is receiving interest from traditional powerhouses such as Duke, Kansas, Michigan State and Illinois. He recently received a scholarship offer from Duke.
Steve Taylor also helped lead the offensive attack for the Wolverines as he added 15 points of his own. Taylor is another intriguing prospect for Illini fans. Taylor is a long, rangy player who has shown the potential to score from the perimeter.
The one knock on Taylor's game would be his lack of interior play. Taylor would most likely project to a power forward at the next level, but his game thrives on perimeter. Taylor's game had received interest from many college suitors, but Marquette, Southern Illinois, and Depaul have been after this Simeon star the hardest.
As For Scott Co. they were led 6-9 senior Otto Porter. Otto had 20 points for the defending Missouri state champions. Porter is a player who is in high demand as he is currently hearing from colleges all across the country.
Porter currently holds offers from Georgetown, Missouri and Missouri State. Porter doesn't have a timetable for when he will decide to make a decision and does not currently have a leader at this moment.