Alvin Parker says he got more than his name from his father.
The 24-year-old point guard for the Holland College Hurricanes said they were the same height, build and played a similar game.
“I never met my dad,” Parker said before a recent practice.
Four months before Parker was born, his 21-year-old father died following a heart attack. His stepfather died four years ago, also of a heart attack.
“Me and my mom are real close,” Parker said. “I was lucky enough to have two fathers, three including my mom.”
Parker, who has starred the past two seasons in Charlottetown, said he began playing ball when he was seven years old.
“It was something I was always good at, but my father always pushed me to be great,” he said. “That’s why when I play so intense. When I am out there, it’s the only place I get to go to release everything that ever happened to me.”
Parker grew up in Baltimore and went to one of the roughest schools in the city. He played three years of high school hoops and in his senior year finished among the league leaders in scoring and assists while playing shooting guard.
“I messed up,” Parker admitted. “I got in trouble — things off the court, me and couple of friends, something I wish I never did.”
He doesn’t get into what happened, but is trying to make good for him and his family. Parker has three children, a girlfriend, three younger brothers and three nephews.
“That’s my motivation,” he said. “That’s who I do it for.”
Parker’s grades were not good in high school, leaving scholarships offers meaningless.
His high school coach was Benny Edison, who played university ball at Dalhousie University in Halifax. Edison knew Holland College coach George Morrison’s son Scott, who coaches at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ont. They started talking and before long Parker ended up in Charlottetown.
Edison has been instrumental in helping others from the Baltimore area find spots at Canadian universities, including Cape Breton guard Jimmy Dorsey.
Coming to Charlottetown was a bit of a culture shock, Parker recalled.
“The first day I had a run in with a fox, first time I ever saw a fox in my life,” he said. “I jumped on the table at the Esso gas station and told them I wasn’t leaving until they got rid of the fox.”
He quickly became accustomed to his new surroundings.
“Everyone here is just nice. It’s peaceful, something I’m not used to,” he said. “I don’t have to watch my back walking down the street.”
There was also a bit of a transition on the basketball court, as well. Parker found himself coming off the bench – something he was not accustomed too.
Some people would mistake my intensity for a bad attitude, but the people on my team and my coaches they’re around me so much that they understand. They know I really want to win and I will do anything for my teammates. - Alvin Parker of the Holland College Hurricanes
He scored 20 points and dished out seven assists in his first game.
Parker saw himself as a point guard. Coach Morrison told him otherwise.
“All I heard from coach George was, ‘you’re never going to be a point guard,’” Parker said. “After a while I started getting what he was talking about.”
They butted heads, but now the reasons are crystal clear to Parker.
“He said, ‘Just pay attention at the end of the game, see if you’re on the floor or not, that’s how you’ll know what I think of you,’” Parker remembered. “At the end of every game, especially close games, I was always on the floor. After a while I bought into it. I wanted to win.”
Chase Bowden led the Hurricanes in scoring this season in his first year playing college basketball. He knows what Parker means to the team.
“Alvin Parker is one of the best point guards I’ve ever seen,” he said. “He makes it so easy for me.”
Parker has an aura around him and has a certain flash to his game.
“I think I get that from my father,” he said. “Like most Baltimore point guards, we all have that swagger.”
Parker has improved both on the court and in the classroom while in Charlottetown.
“I love school,” the sport and leisure management student said.
“Teachers love me and I love them. They’re working with me, they’re giving me a lot of help and they make sure I stay on top of my grades.”
He also credits coach Morrison putting a lot of emphasis on his marks for his turnaround.
He is not sure what happens after this year, but knows he has the necessary skills to be successful. It is something he is sure would make his father proud.
“I can’t put it into words, but I know he’s smiling,” he said.
u Who – A second-year Holland College men’s basketball player.
u Position – Point guard.
u Age – 24.
u Hometown – Baltimore, Md.
u Statistics –
GP Pts./G Reb./G A/G
21 10 4.6 7.24
u Description Of His Game – “Competitive to the extreme, intense, flashy, trash talker, team first, always team first.”
u Quote – “I think I’m the best point guard in the country. I don’t care what anyone else thinks. That’s the type of attitude I have, I try to prove it every time I play.”