De’End Parker is running the floor, driving the lane and sinking jumpers again after more than seven months away from the basketball court.
The former Lincoln High School and City College of San Francisco star is now lacing it up in the San Francisco Bay Area Pro-Am Summer Basketball League after missing most of the 2011-12 college basketball season because of a knee injury and transfer issues.
“I’m getting a lot of support here,” Parker said. “Everybody in here knows me — they know me from growing up around here.”
Parker, who led CCSF to a state title in 2011, injured his right kneecap after his second game with UCLA in November. Over Christmas break, he decided to transfer to USF so that he could be home to care for his mother, who is battling cancer and diabetes and recovering from heart surgery.
Parker, 21, spent the winter and spring strengthening his knee, and now he’s looking to get back into game shape in the pro-am league at Kezar Pavilion, which runs into mid-August. In the process, he’s working on his jump shot to diversify his skill set.
“To the rack, I’m real skilled — I’ve been doing that a long time,” he said. “So I’m working on pull-up dribbles, knocking [down] my open shots consistently — that’s just going to elevate my game.”
But Parker won’t be hitting any baseline 3s or mid-range shots from the elbow this winter unless the NCAA waives a transfer rule that would require him to sit out the season. Parker has petitioned the NCAA to exempt him from the rule because his transfer is related to his mother’s health. He expects a decision in the next few weeks.
“I just did nothing for a year,” Parker said. “I pray I don’t have to do that again.”
The Dons are likely in a similar mindset; six players, including two starters, transferred from the program at the end of last season and Parker’s eligibility would clot some of that bleeding.
The 6-foot-5 guard said he’s enthusiastic to play on the Hilltop because his family can attend and he has a lot of fans in the local basketball community.
“I’m going to have a lot of support,” he said. “A lot of people will be out at the games.”
But right now, Parker’s jacked up to test his game against NBA talent next Friday when his Bay Raiders take on Dream Team.
“I heard Tyreke Evans and Donte Greene [from the Sacramento Kings] are playing,” he said. “I want to match up against them.”
San Francisco Pro-Am
WHEN: Most Mondays to Thursdays, 8 p.m.
WHERE: Kezar Pavilion
COST: Admission is free