State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins was proud to introduce to the Illinois State Senate the 2012 state champions in boys’ basketball – the Simeon Career Academy Wolverines. In March, the South Side Chicago school claimed its third consecutive state title and its sixth overall, the most of any school in Illinois. Members of the Senate applauded team members, including nationally top-ranked junior Jabari Parker, for their athletic and academic achievements.

“These hard-working and talented young men are an inspiration,” Sen. Collins said. “I am honored to congratulate them on their record-setting achievements.”

Sen. Collins singled out forward Jabari Parker for recognition, noting his 3.8 grade point average and commitment to community service in addition to his extraordinary skill on the court.

“Jabari stands as a shining example of a true student athlete who uses his mind, body and soul to the best of his ability,” Sen. Collins said. “He is also a team player who credits his teammates for his success.”

Parker, considered the top-ranked high school junior player in the nation, was recently honored as Illinois’ Mr. Basketball 2012 and presented with the “Rising Star” award from the DuSable Museum in Chicago. He is weighing his many college options. Simeon Career Academy is also the alma mater of Derrick Rose, who now plays professionally for the Chicago Bulls.

Sen. Collins also recognized Coach Robert Smith, who has served as Simeon’s head basketball coach for the past eight years. “Coach Smith has taught the Wolverines respect and leadership skills both on and off the court,” Sen. Collins said.

The Wolverines were hosted in Springfield today by Sen. Collins and Representative Mary Flowers. Transportation for the team was provided through the generosity of Larry Huggins and Timothy and Everett Rand.

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