Simeon Career Academy forward Jabari Parker, who is committed to play college basketball at Duke, returned to the court Thursday night in the opening round of the Pontiac Holiday Tournament.
Parker had missed Simeon's previous three games to improve his conditioning. He fractured a bone in his foot in July and did not participate in practice after suffering the injury. Parker played in Simeon's first three games, but having missed so much time in practice, he was not in game shape.
"His foot is fine, it was just his conditioning," Simeon head coach Robert Smith said Wednesday. "I just wanted to see how far he was and what he could and what he couldn't do (in the first three games.) He'll play at Pontiac. We look at him at about 45-50 percent now. I could see him back to (100 percent) in the middle of January, maybe when we come back from Christmas break. Today, he looked good in practice. He shot the ball well and got up and down."
Parker looked to be in fine form during Simeon's 77-20 win over East Moline United Township Thursday. He played 16 minutes and compiled 20 points, six rebounds and five assists. Afterward, Parker said Thursday's game was the first time this season he felt like he was able to make an impact:
"For the first time I felt like I really helped the team out," Parker said. "The other games I was just there trying to be a presence. This is the first game I was able to contribute."
At 6'8 and 220 pounds, Parker is a five-star player and the No. 2 forward in the class of 2013, according to ESPN.