Bixby's Parker to face ORU with a chip on his shoulder
BY JIMMIE TRAMEL World Sports Writer
Saturday, February 09, 2013
2/09/13 at 8:32 AM
The most important road game of Oral Roberts' season is next on the schedule. ORU can reclaim a share of the Southland Conference lead by winning Saturday at Stephen F. Austin.
Blocking the Golden Eagles' path is someone whose home is 15 minutes away from ORU's campus.
Bixby's Jacob Parker is a starting forward for a Stephen F. Austin team that is alone at the top of the league standings.
How did he get there?
Blame it on the refs.
Parker once played on the same AAU team as ORU guard Korey Billbury. They were competing in a summer tournament in Duncanville, Texas, and Parker happened to play well enough in a game to catch the eye of Stephen F. Austin coach Danny Kaspar.
The rest of the story?
Kaspar and then-assistant coach Kellen Sampson (son of former Oklahoma coach Kelvin Sampson) showed up at the tournament to scout Dorrian Williams of Oklahoma City's Douglass High School, but the officiating crew didn't show up.
Sampson said Kaspar got antsy when the game didn't start on time and decided to watch another game instead. Kaspar went to the court where Parker's team was playing and watched him have what Sampson described as a "monster" first half.
"Who is this kid?" Kaspar asked Sampson, who battled through confusion before identifying Parker.
Sampson had heard good things about Parker, but had never seen him play. In fact, Sampson said he and Kasper intended to watch Parker play the next day.
But Sam Parker -- who's that? -- was the only Parker listed on a tournament roster provided to coaches.
"I knew of a Jacob Parker, but not Sam," Sampson said. "As I'm getting fussed out by Kaspar for not knowing who this stud from Oklahoma is, I'm frantically making calls trying to put the pieces together. By the time I got to the scorer's table at halftime and saw (in the scorebook) it was Jake, he had 13 points and nine rebounds."
Sam and Jacob are, of course, the same person. Parker's first name is Sam, but he goes by his middle name. All that mattered is what's-his-name kept doing things to endear himself to Kaspar.
"That's probably the biggest reason why I am here is knowing the head coach actually likes you and the assistants don't have to be in their ear about giving (their recruit) a chance," Parker said in a telephone interview from Nacogdoches this week.
Last season, Parker became the second true freshman to start a season opener for Kaspar.
This season, the 6-foot-6 sophomore is leading the Southland Conference in 3-point percentage (never mind that he was primarily a post player in high school) and he's showing Oklahoma schools this: The one that got away can play.
Stephen F. Austin is 3-0 against home-state programs this season, going on the road to beat Oklahoma, Tulsa and ORU.
"Mission Oklahoma complete," Parker posted on his Twitter account after the sweep.
"We got to go up there three times and we won all three of them," Parker said. "For me, it meant a little bit more because that's where I'm from and all my friends and family got to come, so it felt good to get up there and win them all."
None of the state's Division I schools offered a scholarship, though Parker said former Tulsa coach Doug Wojcik invited him to walk on and go on scholarship one year later. Parker scored a career-best 16 points at TU's expense this season.
ORU? Parker said he grew up going to Golden Eagle basketball camps and he, of course, knew a bunch of the coaches. "But it never got to a point where (they asked) do you want to come here?"
Scott Sutton and his assistants have hit their fair share of jackpots as talent evaluators. After a homecourt loss to Stephen F. Austin last month, the ORU coach praised Kaspar for finding tough, smart players who don't try to do things they can't do.
"Take Jacob Parker," Sutton said. "He's a great example."
Sutton said Kaspar -- who coaches the nation's top defensive team -- must have seen something in Parker that fit the Lumberjacks' style of play.
What did Kaspar see the day the refs didn't show up?
"He always tells me I did a little bit of everything," Parker said. "I shot the ball well and got some good rebounds and put-backs. And I'm not going to say my greatest aspect is my defense. I am not the greatest lateral mover. But I take charges. So, just kind of a little bit of everything."
Parker averaged a double-double as a high school junior. But he suggested basketball isn't just about numbers, and maybe that's what appealed to Kaspar.
"There is so much more you can do," Parker said. "Just staying in the passing lane, not letting your man catch (the ball) -- things that aren't necessarily statistical that get overlooked."
Parker is overlooked no longer.
Original Print Headline: ORU misses on Parker
Jimmie Tramel 918-581-8389