At a smaller Division I school like Marist College, it’s not difficult to put a name to the face of the many athletes competing for the school. After walking around campus for four years with their bright red backpacks and constant Marist Athletics apparel, these athletes have established themselves as just that — athletes. As they round the corner to graduation, the question remains: who are they outside of their sport?
The following story is a part of Center Field’s 19 for ‘19: Stories of the Senior Class series.
Cleveland, Ohio native Brian Parker has laced his shoes for the last time as a Marist Red Fox. The senior has made it clear that when he graduates from Marist on May 25, he will no longer pursue a career in basketball.
“I fell out of love with the game,” Parker said.
His passion for his longtime sport of basketball may be gone, but the solid numbers will stay at Marist as Brian moves on. In his 118 career games played for the Red Foxes, Parker started 112 of them and was a crucial asset to his team. He finished his career with an impressive 15.1 points per game and shot 48-percent in his career. The 6’3 guard was also a force on the glass and totaled 5.1 rebounds a game. His defense was also a nice compliment to his offensive game, as he finished with 74 career steals.
Not only were his numbers impressive, but he has multiple accolades to go along with his impressive numbers. In his freshman year, Parker was named to the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) All-Rookie Team. He was also awarded MAAC Player of the Week in mid-December and MAAC Rookie of the week twice in January.
To end his first year in Division I basketball, Parker totaled 462 points, which is the most points scored by a freshman in Marist Division I history and his .514 field goal percentage was the highest of any freshman guard in the country. On top of that, Parker also led Marist in assists and rebounds.
His junior year, Parker was named to the All-MAAC Third Team and led the team in points with 17.1 per game, and in assists with 101. With his solid senior year and career in the books, he ranks top 10 in Marist’s program in free throws made and attempted, field goals made and attempted, points, assists, and rebounds. His 1,731 career points ranks fifth in program history.
Parker also helped the Red Foxes capture their first tournament championship since 2001 this past season. Parker led the way for Marist, defeating LIU Brooklyn in the Belfast Classic Championship hosted in Northern Ireland by a final score of 70-53. He scored a game-high 15 points and led the team in assists with five.
“Winning that championship was probably my biggest accomplishment while here at Marist,” Parker said. “It was a lot of fun, an exciting time, and I enjoyed every part of that victory.”
With all these accolades and accomplishments, many may wonder why the senior has decided to call it quits and focus on life, without basketball, after graduation.
“This feeling really happened during my final year of my college career. My body is falling apart, and the losing did not help,” Parker said. “It’s fun and all to the outsiders, but playing a college sport is like a job, it’s really hard to do.”
Unlike many other athletes around the world, calling it quits was not the toughest decision for Parker.
“Surprisingly when I decided to quit, it really was not that challenging of a decision,” Parker said. “I had already been done with the sport for a while now, and once I hit my senior year my work ethic fell off. I probably gained about 10 pounds this year.”
Parker had long gotten used to the reality that his post-grad life would not be spent on the court. “There really was no thought process to my decision. I understood I would be done playing after college for a while now. I really just said to myself, ‘I’m done,’” Parker said.
Parker may have fallen out of love with the game, but he will forever be grateful for his choice to play basketball.
“Without basketball, I would be such a different person. The people I know and the friends I hang out with are because of this sport,” Parker said. “Basketball formed my life, and it really is more than just a game.”
Although his long basketball journey may be coming to an end, Parker is excited to see what the future holds for himself and his new self-created business, Social Media Market Agency.
“I am starting my own business that is just getting off the ground that I will continue to focus on the business itself these next few months,” Parker said. “The plan and ultimate goal is to get business owners to pay you a certain amount of money a month to run Facebook ads for them.”
Basketball certainly shaped Brian in many a facet, and he has no doubts that, as the business grows, the lessons he learned on the court will play a big part in its success. “In the future, having the skills I learned from being the captain on this team like leadership and teamwork will always continue to help me in my success.”
It is true that he has hung the shoes up, but he would not be shocked if he finds himself on the court playing again in the near future.
“If unforeseeable things happen after graduation, I would return to basketball,” Parker said. “I could easily go overseas and play for Europe, but for now I really don’t want to. I just want to focus on myself and my life as graduation approaches.”
Edited by the Center Field Editorial team.
Header image by Kristin Flanigan.