The wait is over: Parker picks Maryland|Star shooting guard excited to be a Terp

Published 1:19 pm Friday, August 21, 2009

Contributing Writer

All the waiting and debating is over. The widespread speculation, along with the constant phone calls and other recruiting tactics can now come to a conclusion as Mychal Parker, one of the nation’s most sought after swingman, has decided to play for the University of Maryland.
The 6-6 Washington native, who is ranked the 14th best shooting guard in America according to ESPNU, said that getting a chance to play for legendary Terrapins coach Gary Williams, as well as being able to compete in the illustrious Atlantic Coastal Conference, was the perfect combination for the blossoming baller.
Parker’s oral commitment to Maryland has been reported on various websites, but on Thursday the former Southside and Terra Ceia star spoke for the first time about his decision.
“It feels great to sign with them; it’s a blessing,” Parker said. “They have such a great tradition, and Gary Williams is just a great coach. He lets you play your game and relax, but he also takes no stuff from you either.”
Williams has been with Maryland for 21 years and has amassed over 400 wins, and won the national championship in 2002.
The thrill of playing in the ACC, which is routinely touted as one of the country’s top conferences, is something Parker has dreamed about for a long time.
“Oh man, I’m just so excited,” Parker said. “You just have to go out and bring it every game. Every night is a challenge.”
Parker starred for Southside High School during his freshman year, then earned WDN co-player of the year during his sophomore campaign at Terra Ceia.
Seeking to raise his profile and level of competition, Parker transferred to The Miller School, a prestigious prep powerhouse in Charlottesville, Va., where he won the state title as a junior last season.
All of Parker’s prep success, along with several strong showings at various high-level basketball camps and AAU tournaments, created a big buzz for the 6-6, 190-pound do-it-all shooting guard.
Too big of a buzz.
The non-stop phone calls, letters and visits to college campuses began to be a bit much for the rising senior and his family, which is why he decided to end the madness that is big-time college recruiting and announce his choice.
“It just began to wear me and my dad (Omar) down,” Parker said. “We visited a lot of places and talked to a lot of people, but it was really wearing us down.”
On Thursday, a joyous Parker could barely put into words how happy he was for the process to be over.
“Man, I don’t even know how to tell you,” Parker said. “It just feels like a huge weight is off of us. I feel so much more relaxed and excited to play basketball.”
Parker, who will officially sign with the university in November, has been linked to several big time programs all over the southeast. During the final hours he narrowed his list to Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland, but the Terps’ blend of stability and success tipped the scales in their favor.
Parker was close to signing with Virginia, but fell out of favor with the Cavaliers when coach Dave Leitao left the school. It’s still unclear whether the former Cavs coach departed on his own will or not. What is clear is that Leitao’s departure clearly hurt Virginia in the race to land one of the best shooting guards in the country.
“Yeah, it definitely had an affect on me,” Parker said.
What also had an influence on the rising senior is the chance to play right away, something that should happen when Parker hits College Park in 2011.
Right now, the Terrapins feature senior two-time all-ACC selection Greivis Vasquez at shooting guard, and his departure will open up the slot come the following season.
“I should be able to play a whole lot my freshman year,” Parker said. “They told me I would be able to come in and get a shot at starting guard.”
Last year Maryland rode a late-season surge before losing to Memphis in the second round of the NCAA tournament. The Terps finished with a 21-14 record.