‘A leader by example’

Published 8:41pm Saturday, February 23, 2013

KFHS’ Parrett short in stature, tall in talent

One of the lasting memories that King’s Fork basketball fans are likely to have of senior guard Rod Parrett is the three-point free throw and put-back he scored to put his team ahead for good against Western Branch in the district tournament championship.

Parrett
Parrett

Parrett is soft-spoken, but he has not shied away from the big moments late in the season when his team has needed him most.

In that title game, he led his team with 22 points to go with seven rebounds, five assists and three steals and was one of four players in double figures with 12 points when he helped lead the Bulldogs to their first on-court win over Nansemond River this season in the tournament semifinal.

For these performances, he was nominated for and voted as the Suffolk News-Herald’s Player of the Week.

Though Parrett has been a consistent presence for his team all season, he shared what has helped him come on particularly strong as a scorer late in the season.

“It’s just getting shots up at practice, extra shots, just staying confident and listening to my teammates and my coaches — they’re telling me to keep shooting, even if it’s not going in, it’ll eventually fall, so I just listen to them and I work on it,” he said.

Parrett’s basketball career got started when he was living in Buffalo, N.Y. His mother, Ghitana “Tiny” Parrett, played an important role.

“My mom bought my first Fisher Price goal when I was about 3 years old,” he said.

“I did, because he used to take little chairs and flip them over,” she confirmed. “They had the little square at the bottom. Anything that had a hole in it, he’d flip it over and take socks and just throw it, so I figured it was time to get him something.”

Ms. Parrett was not necessarily a big basketball fan; she was just taking note of what her little boy was telling her.

“It was something I thought he wanted and he needed because one day he just decided, he came and told me, he said, ‘Mom, when I grow up, I’m going to make it to the NBA and play with Michael Jordan and I’m going to buy you a (house) and a dark car,’” she said. “And that’s what he told me, so after that I just was like, ‘OK.’”

Later, when the Parretts moved to Virginia, Rod played his first organized ball with the Suffolk Parks & Recreation Department at the age of eight. Then, from ages 10-17, he played Amateur Athletic Union basketball.

For King’s Fork, he played junior varsity in the eighth and ninth grades and then began his time under Josh Worrell on the varsity team in 10th grade. Worrell has described Parrett as one of his favorite players he has ever coached and has complimented him for his improvement on defense and for his leadership.

“He’s one of those guys he’s going to hold his teammates accountable and make sure they’re working hard in practice every day,” Worrell said. “He’s more of a leader by example, because he’s never going to (take) a play off in practice, he’s never going (take) a day off. He’s going to work hard all the time.”

Parrett spoke to what motivates him to work hard in each game.

“My team, actually,” he said. “These guys are like my family outside of my home. There’s my family here, at home and mainly my mom. She really motivates me a lot.”

“I’m just so proud of him,” she said. “If I can’t make it to games, I always try to send a text message to just play hard, stay focused, don’t let anybody take him out of his game, just play team ball.”

At 5-foot-8, he is tied for being the shortest player on the team, but that has not kept Rod Parrett from being a giant on the court.

“I’m hoping I get my house and my car, knowing he’s a little short,” Tiny Parrett said. “They usually go for the ones that have all the height, but he keeps playing the way he does, I think he’ll be fine.”

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