Past and present Simeon hoops stars share a common bond


Past and present Simeon hoops stars share a common bond

Jabari Parker and Derrick Rose have a lot in common. Besides attending Simeon Career Academy, winning multiple state championships, and being recognized as elite, All-American prep basketball players, theyve both been sidelined with injuries that has kept them away from the game they love for an extended period of time.

In April, Rose tore his ACL in Game 1 of the 2012 NBA Playoffs against the Philadelphia 76ers and is in the process of rehabbing and making his return to the court. Parker suffered a fracture in his right foot in late July and hadnt played a game until he took the court for the first time in last Saturdays season opener against Milton (GA) at the Chicago Elite Classic.

Wolverines head coach, Robert Smith, who coached both Rose and Parker at Simeon, understands how much the game means to each player and knows how they felt with it being taken away.

At any time, basketball can stop for you, says Smith. Jabari just went through that, where basketball was gone. I can remember him coming into my office and saying, Im not a basketball player anymore, because he hasnt played in so long.

And Derrick is going through that right now where hes just sitting there and not being able to perform the craft that he loves to do. Thats tough for anybody to go through.

While Rose has been viciously attacking his rehab and building up his body to where he looks a lot better physically now than he did before he got hurt, the injury to Parkers foot forced him to completely shut down. The results of his extended layoff from the game could be seen immediately when he took the court to play competitive basketball for the first time in almost five months.

Jabaris conditioning isnt 100 percent and on Saturday you could see him trying to make moves he normally makes but couldnt, said Coach Smith. I told him thats how I was when I stopped playing for a minute. I thought I could still make the same moves and couldnt make them.

Basketball is a game of timing and rhythm and if you sit out for an extended period of time like D. Rose and Jabari have its going to take a while to get both of those things back. But Parker will have plenty of time to work on his old moves and get himself back into basketball shape as the Wolverines dont play again until Dec. 13 when they take on Prestonwood High School (Texas).

And the road ahead for the Wolverines isnt easy as that contest will kick off a span of five games in eight days where theyll also have to travel hundreds of miles away from home to play in Dallas (Prestonwood) and then two days later in Memphis, Tenn. at the Penny Hardaway Classic.

But for Parker, he doesnt care about any of that. Hell continue to work hard in practice to get himself back into game shape and the fact hes playing basketball again after being forced to watch from the sidelines for so long, is good enough for the Simeon superstar.

Saturday was mainly about getting a feel for the game and just being more thankful that Im able to play again and having gratitude that the injury is coming to an end, explained Parker. I appreciate the game whole lot more.

As questions about his future remain, David Accam is in his best run with the Fire

As questions about his future remain, David Accam is in his best run with the Fire

For the past two seasons, David Accam was a bright spot on bad Chicago Fire teams.

This season, with more talent on the roster, Accam has blossomed into one of the most dangerous players in the league.

He had a hat trick and an assist in Saturday’s 4-0 win against Orlando. That gives him 10 goals and six assists on the season. Only two other players in Major League Soccer have 16 combined goals and assists, New York City FC's David Villa and teammate Nemanja Nikolic (the leading goal-scorer in the league).

“I thought I could do anything on the pitch today,” Accam said. “I just wanted to enjoy myself and entertain the fans and also help the team win. That’s what we did today, especially after my first goal. I just thought I could get more goals and also help the team win.”

Accam’s big game comes after he sat out the previous two games, which were both played on turf. He wasn’t listed on the injury report, but coach Veljko Paunovic said, “he didn’t recover from the physical issues that he had in the previous game.”

The rest seemed to do Accam some good, but his success in the game (as well as his recent run of eight goals and four assists in his last eight matches) coincides with questions about his future. He was recently rumored to be the target of a Turkish club.

In the past, Accam has spoken about his ambition to play at the highest levels. Typically, that means Europe. General manager Nelson Rodriguez said last month that he expects offers to come in for the 26-year-old because he is a good player in his prime ages.

So is Accam playing like someone trying to earn a new contract? That could be either impressing potential suitors in Europe or boosting his negotiation position with the Fire. Rodriguez has talked about contract negotiations with Accam before, and said those will not resume again until after the season.

“I wanted to be in a team where I would develop as a person and also win trophies, whether here or somewhere (else) I don’t know,” Accam said. “For me, I’m doing really well here and every year if I keep playing well there will be always interest. I know there is a lot of interest because I’m doing well. For me it’s always extra motivation to keep doing well. You don’t know where I will end up, whether here or somewhere else. I’ll just keep playing.”

Accam’s play earned him another call-up to the Ghanaian national team. He will join the team on Sunday for a pair of friendlies in the U.S. The Black Stars will take on Mexico in Houston on June 28 and the U.S. in East Hartford, Conn., on July 1 as the two North American countries prepare for the Gold Cup.

“That’s where I want to be,” Accam said. “I want to be playing for the national team so it’s extra motivation for me to perform well and also to go to the national team.”

Accam has been one of the most productive players in MLS this year, based on goals and assists, and is young enough to draw the attention of plenty of teams. For now, the Fire have him as a key part of the best season the club has had in years.

“I think that he understands very well how to play with the team that we have now and with the teammates that he is surrounded with,” coach Veljko Paunovic said. “We just have to work to give David opportunities… Then we expect that performances like that will come even more.”

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