At a big announcement party on April 23 – attended by more than 50 family members, friends, classmates, teammates, and current and former coaches – at his Lithonia school, Parker revealed hat he will play for the University of California at Los Angeles on a full scholarship.
He picked the Bruins over Duke University, Ohio State University, and the University of Georgia.
Parker’s mother, Hazel, and many of his fans and supporters had hoped the 270-pound center, would stay home and join high school teammates Brandon Morris and former Miller Grove star Donte Williams at UGA, but Parker said it was time to broaden his horizons.
“I just thought I done a lot in Georgia and I thought Georgia has done a lot for me,” he said Monday. “I thought UCLA was the perfect place for me to get better and be successful.”
Parker said choosing was tough because he had great schools on his list.
In the end, he chose to go across the country.
At UCLA, Parker will join three other ESPN 150 top prospects – No. 2 overall player Shabazz Muhammad from Las Vegas; No. 5 Kyle Anderson from Fairview, N.J.; and fellow Georgian, No. 41 Jordan Adams from Lawrenceville, who is currently at Oak Hill Academy, a Baptist-affiliated boarding school in Mouth of Wilson, Va.
“I just thought I would go somewhere where I really thought I could succeed with the freshmen that came in with me,” he said. “With me, Shabazz, Kyle and Jordan, we can come in and turn it out.”
As a senior, 6-foot-9 Parker led Miller Grove to four straight class AAAA state titles and averaged 16.6 points and 11 rebounds per game and was named a McDonald’s All-American and No. 26 overall prospect in the ESPN 100 and No. 7 center.
After his announcement, his mother said she is going to miss him.
“There will be lonesome days,” she said. “But if he was an hour away at Georgia, I would miss him, also.”
Parker, who will graduate from Miller Grove on May 23, plans to major in business management and minor in journalism at UCLA.
At Miller Grove, he had a 109-16 record in four years, including four straight state titles, 1,723 points (13.8 ppg), 1,349 rebounds (10.8 ppg) and 327 blocks (2.6 ppg).
Along with participating in the 2012 McDonald’s All-American game, he was a member of the USA Basketball Men’s U16 and U17 World Championship Team in 2009 and 2010, and he also played in the Jordan Brand All-American game on April 14 in Charlotte, NC.
Parker said he is looking forward to the all-around education he’ll receive from UCLA and the atmosphere of Los Angeles.
“UCLA has great history,” he said. “It’s a great atmosphere and I’ll probably have fun getting my education there.”