East Carolina, located just 30 minutes from Parker’s hometown of Washington, N.C., offered the 6-foot-5, 195-pound wing that opportunity. But late last week, the former Terp decided against a potential homecoming in favor of staying in Maryland and committing to Loyola.
“It was a really tough decision,” Parker said Monday night. “I really wanted to go back home, but I really had to think about my future. Not taking anything away from ECU, but [I decided on] what’s best for me in the long run. Loyola was the best choice for me.”
Parker, who also considered Florida International and Western Kentucky, will sit out the 2012-13 season under NCAA transfer rules and have two years of eligibility remaining after that. He follows Shane Walker, Hassan Fofana and Andre Collins in transferring to Loyola from Maryland. Greyhounds coach Jimmy Patsos, a former Terps assistant, was a major selling point for all four players.
“What really stood out to me was Coach P,” Parker said. “[He’s] a real honest person. I really respect him for that. He was up front with me and respected me as a person. That really … made it an easier decision.”
A consensus four-star prospect coming out of high school, Parker saw action in just 13 games for the Terps as a freshman. He played in all 32 of Maryland’s games this past season, averaging 4.3 points and three rebounds in 18 minutes. Parker decided to transfer shortly after the season, and Maryland later announced he would have been suspended for the 2012-13 campaign for violating the school's athlete code of conduct. Parker said he is moving on from his shorter-than-expected Maryland tenure with no regrets.
“I appreciate the people at Maryland, I appreciate the coaches, I definitely appreciate the fans – they gave me so much love,” Parker said. “I don’t want to take anything away from Maryland. I definitely want to prove something to Maryland – that this is something I could have done better for the team. I definitely want to prove that."
Parker will certainly get that chance with the reigning MAAC-champion Greyhounds. The chance to join an NCAA tournament-caliber team proved to be too much for Parker to pass up. He’ll join what could be a loaded Loyola roster – featuring combo guard Dylon Cormier, point guard R.J. Williams and center Jordan Latham, among others – for the 2013-14 season. Parker, who visited Loyola for the first time last week, said he thinks he’ll be a perfect fit for the Greyhounds’ “up-and-down” offensive system.
“It’s just a new program, a new year, a new me,” Parker said. “I’m definitely excited to get back on the court. I’m just ready to get back and tear it up.”