This week’s feature is with former Savannah High and Armstrong State basketball standout Kevin Parker.
These days, Parker is married and resides in Warner Robins, Georgia. He is employed at Lowe Toyota as a veteran sales professional.
Parker was born in Wichita Falls, Texas but moved to Savannah as a youth. “My father, Kevin D. Parker, was stationed at Sheppard Air Force Base. After he and my mother, Phyllis Parker, gave birth to my sister, Phyllicia Parker, we moved to my father’s home state of Maryland. Shortly after my parents divorced, my mother, my sister and I moved to Savannah, my mother’s home town.”
He adds that the family lived in Cann Park on the west side of Savannah but also spent many days at his grandparents home in Liberty City.
Parker said he got introduced to sports at an early age and that his grandfather, Sidney Parker, who was inducted into the Central State University Hall of Fame, was one of his inspirations.
“The Washington Redskins along with the Chicago Bears scouted him but ultimately didn’t sign him, primarily because of racism and segregation at the time. My grandfather’s success in sports ultimately led to my father playing just about every major sport. I’ve just continued the path my family had set,” he said.
Parker attended Savannah High and was a member of the Blue Jackets basketball squad as a point guard. He helped lead the team to two state tournament berths. As a senior, SHS won the Region 3-AAAAA title and finished the season with a 21-7 record. Parker was named to the Savannah Morning News All Coastal Empire Team after averaging
10 points, 6 assists and 3 steals a game. In the classroom, he carried a 3.5 grade point average and made a 1090 on the SAT. He also took some AP classes at Savannah State University.
His play on the court also drew college recruiters. “I was recruited by at least 10 schools. My top three were The Citadel, Armstrong Atlantic State University, and Valdosta State University. I formally visited all three schools. I chose Armstrong Atlantic State University to stay close to my mother and sister.”
Parker, who majored in information technology at Armstrong, played on two outstanding teams his freshman and sophomore seasons. The 2005-06 team went 23-8 while the 2006-07 squad posted a 21-9 mark. Both squads participated in the NCAA Division II South Atlantic Regionals.
The 5-10 Parker averaged 3.7 points as a freshman and 5.2 points as a sophomore. His best game came during his second year where he had 15 points and six assists in a loss to Florida Southern.
After his sophomore season, Parker made the decision to walk away from basketball as well as Armstrong. “I lost focus of my goals there. I felt mistreated on and off the court and consequently lost all focus.”
He went on to add, “I was lost after my second year playing at AASU. I tried to pursue semi pro but it didn’t work out. Basketball began to feel like a job. I started seeing the politics involved and just moved on. I eventually left Savannah to get a fresh start.”
Parker eventually ended up in middle Georgia, where he has called home for the past seven years. He states that he met his wife (Courtney Robinson Parker), two weeks after moving to Warner Robins, through a mutual friend. “She instantly caught my eye and mind after we argued about the end of a NBA playoff game during our very first conversation,” he stated. Parker went on the say that “Courtney played high school basketball and softball and also played softball at Fort Valley State University. We met in the spring of 2009. We were married in Valdosta on October 18, 2014.”
Although he left Savannah with a bad taste in his mouth, he still keeps up with former teammates.
“I keep in touch with three teammates in particular. Casey Mitchell and I talk and play ball together from time to time. I see Michael Wingster every time I visit home. Marlon Bussey and I work together as sales professionals at Lowe Toyota of Warner Robins.”
Parker states the most rewarding thing about his job is the appreciation of a customer. “A lot of consumers despise sales professionals of any category. So when a customer genuinely appreciates my customer service it makes my day. Especially, because vehicle sales professionals are predominantly frowned upon.”
His father is a pilot captain for United Airlines and has been flying with them for over 20 years. His mother , who is a 1979 graduate of St. Vincent Academy, is a local business owner in Savannah.
Parker said that his schedule doesn’t allow him to visit Savannah as often as he should, but what he misses the most is his mother and ‘fresh’ seafood. “My mom was always there. She is a wonderful woman who sacrificed for my sister and I. She made sure we stayed focus. and stayed out of the street. She gave everything for my sister and I to succeed. I would not be the man I am today without her,” he says.
Although his basketball career didn’t turn out as he had wish, Parker is still involved in the game. “I currently manage a team in the B3 Academy Pro-Am league out of Atlanta. I currently play and coach for my team, the Georgia Knights. My love for basketball returned just in a different light. I still play just about everyday and I’m a manager/player/coach on the team. As I converse with agents, my goal is to bring recognition to Georgia athletes south of Atlanta.The one thing I realized growing up is that there is a lot of talent outside of Atlanta. My goal is to get these kids recognition”.