Former Bulldog Parker Long excited about his opportunity to play for the Redhawks
David Jenkins/Standard Democrat
SIKESTON — Former Sikeston guard Parker Long is heading back to the area.
Long announced on Twitter Saturday that he had committed to Southeast Missouri State University and first-year men’s basketball coach Brad Korn.
“That’s been my dream my whole life,” Long said of playing at the NCAA DI level. “I’ve worked for that my whole life, and I got the opportunity now to do that.”
Last season, Long played at the NCAA DII level, at Maryville University in the Great Lakes Valley Conference.
Liza King/Standard Democrat
He led the Saints in points per game at 13.1. He also shot 42 percent from the floor, added 3.5 rebounds, and dished out 4.1 assists.
From his senior season at Sikeston to his freshman season of college, Long said that he worked a lot to improve — especially with his jump shot.
“I kept working at my pull-up,” Long said. “I think my pull-up jumper was the biggest thing that I worked on and working on deep-range. Shooting from deep, so that defenders wouldn’t be ready for that or weren’t expecting me to shoot that far.”
Additionally, Long also liked the competition he faced night-in and night-out at Maryville.
“The best shooters I’ve ever played against,” Long said. “Smart, fundamental, experienced players and just getting a lot of experience from Coach Stricker and having him turn me loose by letting me play and learn a lot.”
Both Long, and his twin brother Owen, entered the transfer portal after the season when Maryville coach Marc Striker was relieved of his duties following the 5-22 (1-19 GLVC) season.
Long now looks ahead to a new challenge.
The Redhawks haven’t had a winning season in six campaigns. They last boasted a winning mark in 2013-2014, when they went 18-14. Their last winning record in the Ohio Valley Conference came in the 2014-2015 season when they finished at 9-7.
SEMO was Long’s first choice, so when Korn offered him a spot, he immediately took advantage of the opportunity.
“I like him a lot,” said Long of Korn. “He seems like a really good guy and a really good coach. I like what he said in his interview when he said he wanted guys that worked hard are tough, play hard, and just good guys off-the-court. He called me two or three days after he got the job and said that he was interested.
“Then, he called me today and wanted to offer me. That’s where I want to go. I want to go back to the ‘Boot,’ and I want to represent and help turn the program around. That’s the biggest thing. Make it a winning tradition and bring fans.”
Long spent two years of his high school career at Sikeston.
In his senior season, Parker averaged 12.1 points, 4.4 rebounds, and eight assists per contest. He shot 51 percent from the floor, 50 percent from 3-point range and 83 percent at the free-throw line.
Joining the team as a junior, Sikeston coach Gregg Holifield said that he noticed early on that Parker was never going to settle, he was always trying to improve.
“He has a tremendous work ethic,” Holifield said. “I quickly saw that he had a chance to be quite a player from his work ethic. He just improved every day, getting better, and I think he has an opportunity to be an outstanding Division I player.”
Long will sit out the 2020-21 season, per the Southeast coaching staff, and be eligible for three seasons of eligibility beginning in the 2021-22 season.
Southeast now has six scholarships available for the 2020-21 season.