Sept. 5, 2002
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Jason Parker, who made the All-Southeastern Conference freshman basketball squad in 2001 while playing for the University of Kentucky, has enrolled at the University of South Carolina. Earlier this week, Parker and his family had contacted USC Coach Dave Odom to inquire about coming to school at Carolina, after he had been dismissed from the Kentucky team on Aug. 30 for violating departmental policy. USC made the appropriate contacts with Kentucky officials, including Coach Tubby Smith, and UK granted his release and verified that he was leaving the University in good academic standing. Parker and his family will be required to pay all school expenses at USC for the upcoming academic year. He is not eligible to participate next season, but will be permitted to practice. Beginning with the 2003-04 season, he will have two years of eligibility remaining.
Parker, a Parade High School All-America selection his senior year at West Charlotte (N.C.) High School, started all 34 games for UK in 2000-01, averaging 8.6 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. He scored a career-high 22 points with 13 rebounds in the season finale against Southern California. In June 2001, the 6-8, 255-pounder suffered a torn ACL in his right knee, an injury that required surgery. He was scheduled to return to the court this past January, but re-injured his knee in October. He missed the entire 2001-02 season as a medical redshirt. USC head coach Dave Odom has known Parker since he was a sophomore at West Charlotte and was a coach on the 1999 USA Junior World Team that Parker was a member of that won the Silver Medal in international competition in Portugal.
“Over the past several years, I’ve established what I believe is a responsible relationship with Jason,” said Coach Odom. “We recruited him out of high school when I was at Wake Forest and I believe I know him pretty well. Both he and his family have been extremely forthright concerning his recent situation at Kentucky, and I believe our program will be a good fit for him and vice versa. Over the past several days, Jason has had many options made available to him. His family is confident that this is the best place for him and I couldn’t agree more.”
Parker said he was anxious to begin his new college career at South Carolina.
“I did have other schools express an interest in me, but my family and I wanted to come to South Carolina and play for Coach Odom,” said Parker. “I have a lot of respect for Coach Odom and have known him for several years. I regret my actions at the University of Kentucky, but I am ready to put that behind me. I’m excited about coming to Carolina, where I plan to finish my degree and hopefully have a positive impact on this basketball program.”