BYU in Lead for Top Chicago Point Guard

The 16-year-old son of a non-LDS former first round NBA draft pick for the Golden State Warriors currently lists BYU as his early college favorite, <b></b> has learned.

Chris Parker, a 6-1, 180 pound point guard from De La Salle Institute in Chicago, was the youngest player invited to the NBA Top 100 camp last summer as a sophomore. He confirmed he was invited again this summer before he begins his senior season.

In listing BYU as his early leader, Parker confirmed he is also being recruited by Stanford, Duke, Michigan State, Wisconsin and Valparaiso, among others. Demonstrating his range as a junior last season, Chris registered 15 assists in one game, 9 steals in another and scored 31 points in another game.

While the half-black, half Tongan Parker is a fine shooter, he much prefers to do the little things. "That's just my game. I can score, but normally I love passing. I get the biggest thrill passing. I like doing the dirty work, but I also love defense. Defense and passing is my thing. Shooting is the strength that I don't utilize the most." Parker continued, "Ron Artest is my favorite player. I think that's who my game resembles even though I'm shorter and play a different position. I try to play with that mentality. I grew up playing on the playground here in Chicago. That's where I learned the value of defense."

Parker's basketball genes may have something to do with his talent. His father, Sonny Parker, was a 1976 first round pick of the Golden State Warriors. In a TBS interview, Sonny Parker said that Chris and highly recruited Tongan tight end Anthony Moeaki from Illinois are first cousins and close friends. He added "that's one of the reasons Chris really likes BYU right now."

Asked to rate his son's game, Sonny said that "Chris is a legit major point guard he is a natural leader and he has the mentality of a point guard." He said Chris will probably grow two to three inches and may be used as a combo guard because he can shoot so well.

He has an older step-brother that plays professionally in Europe and a younger brother Jabari Parker, 9, who may have the biggest upside of the three siblings. Jabari has been playing on an eighth grade AAU team since he was in the second grade.

What is the BYU attraction for this coveted Chicago player? "The LDS Church. First, I want to get a college degree; second goal is to serve a mission; and third is to play in the NBA. I'm not relying on playing in the NBA. School and Church are more important."

To fully understand his interest and attraction to BYU, it should be noted his full Tongan mother, Lola Parker, served an LDS mission before she married Sonny. Though Sonny was never baptized, Chris, Jabari and two sisters have been active in the Church with her since birth. Lola is currently a Relief Society branch president.

Lola confirmed to TBS that Chris transferred from Latin School of Chicago to De La Salle this year so he could more easily attend early morning seminary (for LDS youth). "The value of church is much more than basketball to Chris," Lola said. "The kids (Chris and Jabari) won't play on Sunday and they won't play, period, unless they are doing well in the class room. Chris gave up going to Latin of Chicago because of seminary and he may miss some of the Big-Time Tournament (country's largest in Las Vegas) later this summer because of EFY (Especially for Youth)."

Parker is currently carrying a 4.0 GPA at De La Salle and plans on serving an LDS mission after his first year of college. He turns 17 in August.

When asked his timetable for making a college decision, Parker responded, "After this summer. I'm basing it on how well I do this summer, but right now, I'm leaning toward BYU. It's not just based on basketball. It's also based on religion. BYU is the only school that will surround me with people who have the same faith as I. I would like to be surrounded by Mormons. Sometimes I feel like I'm the only Mormon in Chicago, youth-wise. It would be great to be surrounded by that in college."

Parker added, half in jest, "I can't wait to meet some Mormon girls. There really is nobody for me to date in Chicago. It'll be nice to meet some good LDS girls and be able to go on a date."

Meanwhile, his summer schedule will be a hectic one. "I'll be at the NBA Top 100 camp again this summer. I may be at Nike camp, but that depends on EFY. I've been invited to the West Coast All-Stars camp. I might leave EFY a little early so that I can play in the Big-Time Tournament in Las Vegas."

Parker confided yet another heartfelt goal that means much more than any amount of success on the basketball court could achieve. "I've made it a goal to baptize my dad. I've had the chance to baptize some friends here, but I had the missionaries do it because I want my dad to be the first person I baptize. He's attended church meetings with the family. He's a great man and a great dad. He's taught me so much."

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