Ray Parks still chasing NBA dream, participates in pre-draft workouts
Playing in the NBA is a dream Ray Parks shares with his late father.
Parks, son of PBA legend Bobby Parks, is giving it another go after a technicality prevented him from making the Los Angeles Lakers team in the Summer League.
On Tuesday (Manila time), the 22-year-old Parks participated in the pre-draft workout with the Utah Jazz.
“I think I did alright. There’s a lot of talent out there and just really try to do what I can do, work hard and show the coaches what I can bring to the team,” Parks told US-based reporters.
Change of heart
Parks’ story is an interesting narrative for reporters especially in the United States.
Back in 2011, Parks had an easier path to his goal of making it to the NBA. ESPN ranked Parks as the 31st best shooting guard in his class and was set to play for Georgia Tech, an NCAA Division 1 school.
Then a sudden change of heart had Parks moving back to the Philippines and play college basketball for National University in the UAAP, where he won two MVPs.
Parks said it was a decision he wanted to make for his family.
“I’ve been in the Philippines really just to play for the National team and also for my father who was ill at that time,” Parks said in a video posted on the Jazz website. “And now is just the opportunity that I have to go out back here in the States and pursue my NBA dreams.”
Parks had no regrets on passing up an opportunity to play in the US where there’s no shortage of exposure from NBA scouts looking for prospects.
“It’s in the back of my head but for the most part I’m just thinking about my father and family,” he said. “For me, it was worth it to be there [until] the dying second. [It] was a blessing for me. Me and basketball, career-wise, I still have an opportunity here right now in Utah is a blessing.”
‘He’s a mystery’
The 6-foot-4 Parks is one of the best young basketball players in the Philippines but in the States, he has little room for error and has to prove himself over and over.
“I don’t travel to the Philippines so he’s a mystery,” Walt Perrin, Jazz vice president of player personnel, told reporters.
It wasn’t the first time Perrin saw Parks in a basketball court.
“He was in the workout in Vegas so I got the chance to see him there and watch him shoot. He shot the ball very well in Vegas.”
Perrin, though, felt Parks didn’t shoot the ball as well as he would’ve wanted to this time. The former NBA scout also thought Parks has to improve on his defense.
“Struggled a little bit here in terms of the shooting. He’s got some things… again, coming from the Philippines, not playing college basketball, There’s a lot of things that he needs to do more on the defensive end than the offensive end that he’s got to learn and get better at. But it was good getting him in and have the opportunity to look at him.”
More pre-draft workouts
Parks is also scheduled to take part in the pre-draft workout with four other NBA teams in Brooklyn, Dallas, Atlanta and Boston where he hopes that coaches will be able to notice what he’s capable of.
“Being a tall guard, I can play the one and the two and defend both spots. I hope I can bring that to the next level and hopefully teams would see that,” he said. “And anything I’ll offer, it’ll be a privilege. I can knock down open shots, get layups or something like that but for the most part, just be a leader and energize the team.”
Parks is taking steps forward towards his NBA dream. And he knows he’s not alone.
“It’s also a dream of [my father], also mine and at the same time I’m so happy that the Filipino community is really helping me out and supporting me.” CFC
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