Parker Brown spent the past couple of days deciding his future.
There was a time it didn't look so promising.
He said he used to smoke marijuana and that was all he cared about every day. Those days no longer exist in Brown's life.
Brown turned things around before his senior year at Corona del Mar High. He killed his addiction and became sober.
Figuring out what college Brown plans to play for is what he contemplated the last couple of days. He took off for Catalina Island with a couple of friends and his mother, Carol Peck.
"It definitely kind of helps me to get away from other people and their input on what I'm going to want to do in the next four years," Brown said. "It's a big decision and I know it's going to effect me for the rest of my life."
By the time you read this, Brown might have made his collegiate choice. The final three schools on his list were UCLA, USC and Pepperdine.
He said his mother went to USC, but she hasn't sung the school's fight song to influence Brown. The decision, Brown said, is his own.
The decision as to who is the Daily Pilot Newport-Mesa Dream Team Player of the Year in boys' volleyball is an easy one. Brown is the best player in the area, and he might be the nicest teenager around.
The outside hitter led the Sea Kings back to the CIF Southern Section Division 2 title match. Repeating is no easy task. Past CdM teams can tell you that.
No boys' team has claimed back-to-back section titles in the Sea Kings' storied history.
Brown gave CdM a shot. The explosive 6-foot-3 player put the Sea Kings in position to defend their section championship.
The opening set in the finale against Oak Park went to CdM. Brown put on a show in the first set by recording nine of his match-high 26 kills.
Oak Park took the next three sets and the title, ending Brown's career with the Sea Kings.
He posted impressive numbers – 408 kills, 102 digs, 44 service aces and 21 blocks – in his final season. He earned all the accolades, All-CIF Southern Section Division 2, first-team All-Orange County, a share of the Pacific Coast League MVP, and played in the Dave Mohs Memorial Orange County High School All-Star match.
The season didn't end like how it did in Brown's junior year, when CdM won section, regional and national crowns. But Brown sees his senior year as an overall success, on the court and off it.
"I'm definitely going to miss the whole team, especially my coach, Steve Conti," said Brown, a repeat Dream Team selection. "He cared a lot about his players. He sacrificed a lot of his time to make me a better person. I want to thank him.
"For the last four years, he's been a real good role model. He's a person of high integrity and I think he really prepares his players for the real world."
The following are the rest of the players on this year's Dream Team:
Corona del Mar
Senior setter ran the Sea Kings' balanced attack with precision and helped CdM make a second straight CIF Southern Section Division 2 title appearance. He earned a share of the Pacific Coast League MVP award and All-CIF Southern Section Division 2 and first-team All-Orange County honors. Ctvrtlik led the area with 891 assists to go with 61 digs, 56 blocks, 26 kills and 20 services aces. He played in the Dave Mohs Memorial Orange County High School All-Star Volleyball Match. Ctvrtlik is bound for Stanford.
Senior libero played big, despite his lack of size at 5-foot-8. With his energy and leadership, he kept a young Sailors team in contention for a Sunset League title late in the season. Richley received first-team All-Orange County and first-team All-Sunset League recognition. He totaled 341 digs. He played in the Dave Mohs Memorial Orange County High School All-Star Volleyball Match and earned the MVP of the Orange County Championships Division 1 tournament, which Newport Harbor won.
Corona del Mar
Senior middle blocker used his 6-foot-5 frame well when hammering and altering shots near the net. He played both offense and defense at a high level, recording 222 kills, 84 blocks, 16 aces and 13 digs. Reed garnered All-CIF Southern Section Division 2, fourth-team All-Orange County and first-team All-Pacific Coast League laurels. He starred in the Dave Mohs Memorial Orange County High School All-Star Volleyball Match, earning the MVP award. Reed plans to walk on at UC Santa Barbara.
Junior middle blocker came into his own, providing a big scoring punch for the Sailors. At 6-foot-11, Rakestraw was almost impossible to stop. He made his presence felt on a team that lost three standout players, Cody Caldwell, Rusty Sary, Ian Sequeira, to graduation and a legendary coach in Dan Glenn. Rakestraw produced 359 kills. He earned first-team All-Sunset League and fourth-team All-Orange County accolades.
Corona del Mar
Senior split time at opposite and middle blocker and played a vital role to the Sea Kings competing for their second straight CIF Southern Section Division 2 championship. The 6-foot-4 Lamons finished with 155 kills, 58 blocks, 18 digs and 12 aces. He played in the Dave Mohs Memorial Orange County High School All-Star Volleyball Match. Lamons made the first-team All-Pacific Coast League. Lamons is bound for UCLA.
Sophomore outside hitter moved from middle blocker to give the Sailors a more potent attack. He began to get comfortable playing the position as the season progressed. Carr made things difficult for the opposition with his 6-foot-5 frame and abilities. With a season under his belt, Carr might be the best junior next season in the area. He finished with 352 kills. Carr earned second-team All-Sunset League laurels.