Parker’s purple pride does disappearing act (Column)

Nick Collins

First Mike Thompson fractures Brandon Lee’s face and now the center has dunked a ball so hard on T.J. Parker’s head the guard is suffering from dementia.

Well, that probably didn’t happen, but it’s the only quasi-logical explanation I could imagine when I heard Parker decided to give up his senior year to turn pro.

In the worst decision since 17th-man Thomas Soltau gave up his amateur status three years ago, Parker is forfeiting a chance to showcase himself on the biggest stage of his life.

The mistake robs his teammates and NU fans of their starting point guard and a potential leader going into what could be the program’s crowning season. And even more dishearteningly, the move makes the dozens of times Parker has talked about making history at NU seem cheap, contrived and phony.

This comes following what, in many ways, was Parker’s worst season at NU. The point guard set career lows in assists and rebounds, and recorded a stunning 20-percentage-point drop in free throw shooting from his first two seasons.

Most strikingly, the Cats’ only three-year starter failed to assume the leadership role he seemed poised to take after Jitim Young graduated — leaving his team looking clueless and lost on the road all season.

This isn’t one of those cases where a family back home needs money — a brother in the NBA, where I hear they make more than $5.15 an hour, surely has alleviated any financial desperation. Given the opportunity, Parker should take the chance to invest in himself, both on the academic and athletic fronts.

With leading scorer Vedran Vukusic staying on, anyone with half a brain can take a look at the NU roster and realize this bunch has the best chance of making the postseason of any team in the span of Parker’s career.

A point guard leading his team to a rare NIT bid or a first-ever NCAA tournament appearance surely would garner more attention than some na