It's just beginning for De'End Parker

April 22, 2011 7:44:44 PM PDT
Now for the story of De'End Parker and yes, that is his name. Parker led City College of San Francisco to the state junior college title and just signed to play for UCLA.

To understand how far Parker has come, you have to go back to de-beginning. He was the youngest of seven children, Parker almost died at birth, prompting his mom to come up with his unique name.

"Her youngest kid, her last kid almost died. She was like, 'This is the end, I'm not having anymore. I'm not going through this again.' So, that's how I got the name De-End," said Parker.

Parker and I talked and shot and talked some smack. De'End is a 6'6" guard who can handle the ball, shoot, and oh yes, he can fly.

In the final seconds, Parker had the game-winning tip-in for City College as they captured the state championship.

"I never won a championship. In my 2 years I played at Lincoln High School, we lost both years in the championship. So I never had the feeling of winning it. So, that last play, I told coach, 'I'm not losing this game,'" said Parker.

When I faced him, he wasn't losing this game either, despite some creative attempts by yours truly. UCLA coach Ben Howland loved Parker's defensive intensity.

"Ben loved that. As soon as he came in, he said, 'This is my kind of guy. I got to have this guy. So yeah, I think that it will fit,'" said City College Coach Justin Labagh.

Parker averaged 12 points per game this season with an even more impressive 3.5 GPA. Parker has endured a difficult childhood, foster homes, siblings in trouble and overcome all challenges. He is smiling and dunking his way to success. He's just a natural-born winner.

"Whatever I do, I always try to win, even out here with you. I understand that your age is a factor in this..." said Parker.

Of course, I beg to differ that age was a factor... I say it was skill differential.


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