Having one of the more well respected men’s college basketball programs in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference in his back yard couldn’t have worked out better for Parker Weinrauch.
As a result the six-foot-seven, 210-pound centre out of Notre Dame has committed to the RDC Kings for next season.
Kings head coach Darren Graham teaches at Notre Dame and had Parker in one of his basketball classes while also watching him play two seasons ago before the pandemic closed things down.
Weinrauch had contact with RDC and the Kings for several years.
“Ever since middle school the Kings have attended our practices and I was impressed by how committed they were and how they carried themselves.
“I’m honoured to have Darren reach out to me and to get a chance to play for the Kings.”
Parker didn’t take the game seriously until Grade 9.
“Hockey was my main sport but I started to realize I liked basketball more and with my natural height it suited me.”
Parker’s height impressed Graham.
“It’s a nice quality to have a big man at his age (17) who can run the floor and can shoot the threes. He also has a nice mid-range touch and can work inside,” said Graham.
“With his height and frame you can see him easily be a solid 230 or 240 pounds and be a power house inside.”
Weinrauch is willing to work inside and enjoys a higher-paced game.
“I like to have the ability to run the floor and be able to step back and shoot from the outside,” he said adding he can also play with his back to the basket.
“I have a sweet spot at about 10 feet, but also have some post moves. I just need to continue to work on my foot work.”
Parker helped the Cougars win the zone championship in 2020 but the provincials were cancelled because of Covid, which eventually eliminated the 2020-21 season.
“It was disappointing not going to the provincials. And missing a complete year is a step back especially with my cardio. It’s not where it needs to be.”
Not playing didn’t mean Parker was away from the game.
“When we were closed down I’d go to the basement and watch old games and watch high school kids who play my position and mimic what they did, working on my ball handling. When things opened up a bit I worked out at the school and in the gym as much as I could.”
Parker says he doesn’t only concentrate on the offensive side of the game.
“I pay a lot of attention on what a guy does when he doesn’t have the ball and on the defensive side,” he said. “I take a lot of pride on my defence … I’m never afraid to take a charge.”
Parker has been accepted in the kinesiology program at RDC and has his fingers crossed next season will start on time.
He’s not the only one. Graham has all but put the finishing touches on his recruiting and would like nothing better than to see what it looks like on the court.
He has three impressive imports in six-foot-five Eduardo Crespo of Sao Paolo, Brazil, six-foot-one guard Isaiah Flynn of Tacoma, WA., and six-foot-seven Antonio Benjamin of North Carolina.
“We’re excited about their potential,” said Graham. “Crespo has already been accepted into college, now it’s a matter of him getting his visa and getting here and being quarantined. He can play any position and was playing point guard for his club team.
Flynn is the brother of Malachi Flynn, the 2020 first round draft pick of the Toronto Raptors.
“Isaiah is a little older at 26 and is a real leader at point guard,” said Graham. “He has a football type body and it will be exciting to see him and Ty (King) be together if Ty is back.”
Benjamin will be looked at to anchor the inside.
“He’ll gobble up a lot of the big man minutes,” added Graham, who also added five-11 guard Jason Ramattan of Mississauga, ON., who is representing Guyana in the SEEBA playdowns. He also played two years at junior college in the States.
“He can play either point or shooting guard and is a lefty which adds another element to our game.”
Point guard Azro Abuzukar from Vermilion, Pierce Shybunka of Hunting Hills and Kirklan Hall of Rocky Mountain House are other new faces.
“I like bringing in local guys and I feel we have a strong group to go with a good core of veterans. Then added some important bodies to compliment them,” Graham said.
The Kings are currently working in 10 man groups at practice.
“We were working out last fall until Nov. 12 and it was good for the guys to be together,” he said. “Then we were shut down until the end of February when we could work out one-on-one for a few weeks until now. It’s important mentally for the guys to be together. I know the attitude is great.”
Danny Rode is a retired Advocate reporter and member of the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org