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Boys athlete of the week
Parker steps up for Statesboro
PARKER mug bw
Patrick Parker, junior center for Statesbor, is averaging six rebounds a game.
    Important players aren't always leading scorers.
    Sometimes, a key team member has to do the dirty work — the small things that don't get noticed. For Statesboro's boys basketball team, Patrick Parker is one such guy.
    A junior center, Parker has stepped up from his role on the junior varsity team last season to become a key cog for the Blue Devils this winter. As the team dealt with early illnesses and the delayed arrival of several football players, Parker was asked to serve as a low post presence.
    "He's got good hands for a big man," said Statesboro coach Lee Hill. "He's a good athlete. He's working on it. He's got some improvement to do but he's working hard."
    That effort can be clearly seen in Parker's rebounding numbers. Heading into Tuesday night's game against Screven, the soft-spoken junior was second in the Herald coverage area with an average of six rebounds per contest.
    Parker said the speed of the game is the biggest change from the JV to varsity level.
    For that reason, he's put extra focus on boxing out and defense.
    "I'm trying to get good numbers of rebounds," he said.
    He's doing a good job so far, and once the Blue Devils are full strength down low they should be a force to be reckoned with.