Howard CC's Parker breaks out fast

December 02, 1992|By Tom Worgo | Tom Worgo,Contributing Writer

The Howard Community College's men's basketball program has boasted star players in recent seasons.

Mark Peters led Division III junior colleges in scoring last season, averaging 33.5 points per game. James Hamilton averaged more than 30 points per game the previous two years.

But another Howard CC player, sophomore guard Brian Parker, could be the best of the three because of his overall game, said Express coach Wheeler Brown.

"He's one of the most talented kids we have had here in terms of combining everything," Brown said of Parker, a preseason All-America selection, who averaged 22.5 points and 12.5 assists last season.

"He has a great outside shot, being able to shoot the three. He also plays excellent defense. A lot of times he's guarding the opponent's top scorer. And he's almost at a height disadvantage [5 feet 11] every night."

Although Howard CC, ranked eighth nationally among Division III schools by the National Junior College Athletic Association, started the season slowly at 4-3, Parker has started fast. He's averaging 23 points, 10.4 assists, four rebounds and four steals.

"I expect to score more," said Parker. "This year I am off to a good start, but I have to keep it going and finish the season strong. I just want to get us back on the winning track. I want to be the No. 1 team."

The slow start forced Howard CC, which lost it first two games, to make some lineup changes. Parker was moved from shooting to point guard -- the position he played last season. The Express has won four of five games since the switch.

"We still want him to get his points," Brown said. "We designed some plays now so he should be able to score just as much without taking the other players out of the offense. He's a major reason why we have turned it around."

Shooting the ball was Parker's strength at Atholton. He led the county in three-pointers his senior year. But if his game needed improvement in any areas, Brown said, it was his strength (he weighed 140 pounds) and his ability to take the ball inside.

Parker has added 25 pounds since high school, including 5 pounds since April, through weight training. The additional strength, Parker said, increased his shooting range to the NBA's three-point distance. And he's no longer afraid to drive into the lane.

"Brian always realized he had to do some extra things to improve his game," Brown said. "He saw after a year in the JuCo that the guards were strong. He knew he had to get stronger himself."

During his senior year in 1989 at Atholton, Parker ranked fourth in the county in scoring, averaging 23 points a game while being named an All-Metro honorable-mention selection and a Howard County Sun All-County second-team selection.

In addition, Parker ranked second in the county in assists and first in free-throw percentage. "Coming out of high school, I had quite a bit of schools after me," Parker said. "It was just my grade-point average and SATs were not up to par."

After high school, Parker planned on attending Capital College in Laurel and playing basketball. But he didn't meet the eligibility requirements. So he came to HCC to take some classes to become eligible at Capital. But Parker decided to stay at Howard.

"When Brian first came here a couple of years ago, he wasn't that academically sound," Brown said. "He sat around and went to class sometimes. Now he's starting to shore up his academics and he's seeing the value of an education. That's the most pleasing thing for me."

Parker is being recruited by five schools -- East Stroudsburg, Southern Illinois, Central Arkansas, Central Oklahoma and the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore.

pTC

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