Purdue’s 2019 recruiting class is mostly complete with Isaiah Thompson, Brandon Newman, and Mason Gillis. We have the room for one more in the 2019-20 season even if Carsen Edwards returns, but much of the focus is turning to 2020. Today I saw a player that could be a dark horse for one of those 2020 spots, which currently has three openings per our grid:
Basketball Scholarship Grid
|Matt Haarms||RS Soph.||RS Junior||RS Senior|
|Aaron Wheeler||RS Freshman||RS Soph.||RS Junior||RS Senior|
|Sasha Stefanovic||RS Freshman||RS Soph.||RS Junior||RS Senior|
|Emmanuel Dowuona||Redhshirt||RS Freshman||RS Soph.||RS Junior||RS Senior|
Tayson Parker is a high volume scorer at Northwestern High School near Kokomo, so he is a local kid. I saw him last season at Hamilton Heights and today he was playing against Carroll HS at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, so I covered the game for the Kokomo Tribune.
Last season as a sophomore Parker was one of the state’s most prolific scorers. He was at 26.3 points per game for a Northwestern team that went 15-8 and lost in the sectional final to George Karlaftis and West Lafayette. This year he is averaging around 22 per game for a Northwestern team that is one of only two undefeated teams left in the state. The Tigers are ranked No. 1 in Class 3A (the second largest class) and are 15-0 for the first time in 45 years.
Northwestern is a decent smaller school program too. They are always right on the 2A/3A line and they won the 2007 Class 2A state title at 25-2. That team had a pair of Division I players on it and coach Jim Gish is still there. There girls program is in the midst of an excellent run right now too, having won the 3A title last year and they are heavily favored to do so against this year. The girls program is led by 2020 Purdue commit Madison Layden.
Back to the boys team though. The first thing I noticed about Parker is that he has put on some serious muscle this year. He has filled out into a solid guard listed at 6’1” 185 pounds. He is extremely athletic, too. He had an alley-oop backdoor layup and one of the first questions my Tribune editor asked was “what was the Tayson dunk count?” Part of it was the talent (Carroll is a not very good 6-7), but Parker was head and shoulders above everyone else athletically. There were several moments in the game where he simply sprang up above everyone else just because he could.
This stands out to me even more when you consider that this was Northwestern’s third game in five days. Coach Gish mentioned after the game that his entire team had dead legs and that Tayson in particular was fatigued later. Last night they won a tough conference road game at Twin Lakes in Monticello and they had to turn around and play in Indy less than 24 hours later.
Parker started strong by scoring 13 of the first 14 points of the game for Northwestern. He finished with 22 points on 8 of 13 shooting, was 3 of 4 from three, hit all three of his free throws, and added 6 rebounds and 2 assists. What stood out to me is that it was a very quiet line. He was far and away the best player on the court, but his numbers came within the flow of the game without completely taking over. He scored both and the rim and showed a very nice jumper.
He reminds me a lot of our own Carsen Edwards in that he has superior athleticism and can score in a variety of ways. Carsen is also 6’1” and Parker looks like he could play at around the same 200 pounds as Carsen.
He also reminds me of TCU’s Desmond Bane in that he is an underrated player that is kind of flying under the radar. You’ll remember that I pulled hard for Painter to offer Bane a few years ago because we had the scholarship room and he would be a nice project player. Instead he ended up at TCU and is averaging almost 15 ppg this year as a junior.
Parker also wants to come to Purdue. He has been vocal about wanting an offer since he was a freshman and started receiving some looks. He has visited Purdue, but finding recruiting news on him is tough. Here are his Hudl highlights from this season. He is at least a guy that is on the radar. With 2020 target Trey Galloway also playing at the Fieldhouse tonight the coaching staff also got another look at him.
Will Purdue offer? It remains to be seen. To me, there is nothing wrong with offering an athletic pure scorer that has a hint of Carsen in him. It seems like all we have to do is offer, too. He is probably a bigger, more athletic version of Isaiah Thompson. To give an idea of his athleticism is a state contender in the long jump. As a sophomore last season he placed 5th in the state with a jump of 22 feet, 9.75 inches. If he leads Northwestern on a deep tournament run and has a good summer he will get noticed.