In addition to his devout Mormon faith, unusual humility and ability to dominate a game without scoring, elite class of 2013 recruit Jabari Parker has one other characteristic most of his peers don't share.
He doesn't care about recruiting rankings.
In an era when most top prospects pay close attention to how recruiting services evaluate them, Parker's parents say he measures success by scholarship offers, high marks in school and state championship trophies. That's why it doesn't bother the Chicago native that he could lose his consensus No. 1 overall ranking in the class of 2013 if he sits out the rest of the July evaluation period with a nagging right heel injury.
"He doesn't have anything to prove," his father Sonny told ESPN Chicago. "He's the hunted; he's not the hunter. His school season and health are more important.
"Right now, he's not caught up in the rankings. He's so concerned about winning that state championship for a fourth year. That's more important than the ranking stuff. People are putting it out there because they want something to talk about."
Cynics might point out it's easier for a highly touted forward with dozens of scholarship offers to ignore recruiting rankings than it would be for a marginal prospect. Nonetheless, as ESPN.com's Eamonn Brennan notes, it's refreshing to see that Parker and his parents appear to realize that nothing changes all that much if he remains ranked No. 1 in his class or he slips behind fellow contenders Andrew Harrison or Julius Randle.
There isn't a college coach who'd pull Parker's scholarship offer, nor is there an NBA scout who'd suddenly lose interest.
Would it be compelling to watch Parker square off with Harrison, Randle or Class of 2014 megastar Andrew Wiggins in Augusta this weekend or Las Vegas the following week? Definitely. Would recruiting-savvy fans be disappointed if it doesn't happen? Sure. But it's not worth Parker risking future injury to preserve his No. 1 ranking, and it's great to see he and his family understand that.
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