"Things were looking good for Division I but I messed up in school," said Parker, a 6-foot-6 transfer from Columbia College in California. "I ended up at (UC) Riverside but I wasn't going to be able to play this year. I didn't want to redshirt again. I had already sat out with a broken ankle my freshman year. I just wanted to play."
And Tony Sellitto didn't say no. The HPU coach had been interested in both Parker and his Columbia teammate, 6-4 guard Gilbert Smith. Smith committed to the Sea Warriors while the very athletic and explosive Parker appeared headed to Iowa State.
"It didn't work out and he ended up at Riverside and was unhappy," said Sellitto. "He called and said, 'Coach, I want to come to Hawaii.'
"It was hard for a guy with his talent at the beginning. He wasn't eligible for our first five games, had to sit in the stands. He comes in late and has to break into a lineup with two great players ahead of him at his position. Our problem was getting him on the court. We could have lost him a number of times for a number of reasons but he stuck in there and this is the result."
The Sea Warriors (19-2) are off to their best start in history. And Parker's worth has increased with each game as the former high school quarterback has slowly entrenched himself as the team leader, leading everything from cheers to pregame prayers.
"My biggest adjustment coming here was not starting," said Parker, last season's MVP of the Central Valley conference. "I had always started ever since I began organized ball. But things are going OK here. I'm starting to feel more comfortable with the team.
"I had no expectations when I came here. Gil told me we were going to be good. I didn't expect to be on the No. 2 team in the country."
Parker expects to play pro ball after his HPU career is over. After, he says, the Sea Warriors win the national title this year. And next year.
"We've got the talent. I'm counting on two (titles)," said Parker, who ranks third in the Hawaii Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in both field-goal and 3-point percentage.
"I think he has a great future," said Sellitto. "He's a terrific rebounder and has great quickness for a kid his size. If he works on his game, works on his jump shot, he can go as far as he wants. I know the pro teams are already looking at him."
The Vulcans (8-12) were led by Rodney Odrick who scored 26 points.
BYU-Hawaii 92, Hawaii-Hilo 83
Hawaii-Hilo: Collins 0-0 0-0 0, Carvalho 0-0 0-0 0, Culberson 1-6 0-0 2, Odrick 11-20 0-1 26, Lindstrom 5-6 0-0 13, Goode 0-1 0-0 0, Jenkins 7-14 4-7 18, Yule 1-2 5-6 7, Tharp 5-10 4-4 17. Totals 30-59 13-18 83.
BYU-Hawaii: Fripp 0-1 0-0 0, Smith 2-5 4-4 8, Alves 2-4 0-2 6, Akana 8-11 8-11 27, Enosa 5-12 2-5 12, Bates 2-8 3-5 7, Barton 5-10 0-0 15, Matavao 8-14 1-2 17. Totals 32-65 18-29 92.
Halftime-Hawaii-Hilo 40, BYU-Hawaii 40.
3-point goals-UHH 10-19 (Odrick 4-7, Lindstrom 3-4, Tharp 3-6, Culberson 0-1, Goode 0-1), BYUH 10-18 (Barton 5-9, Akana 3-5, Alves 2-4). Total fouls-UHH 21, BYUH 20. Fouled out-Jenkins. Technical fouls-Culberson 2. Rebounds-UHH 36 (Jenkins 15), BYUH 34 (Matavao 8). Assists-UHH 17 (Odrick 9), BYUH 23 (Alves 6). Steals-UHH 13 (Odrick 4), BYUH 9 (Enosa 4). Blocked shots-UHH 2 (Jenkins 2). Turnovers-UHH 20, BYUH 17.
The Sea Warriors (19-2) face the Seasiders (17-3) at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Cannon Activities Center. HPU leads the all-time series, 31-30.
The teams play twice in the regular season, followed by a one-game playoff to determine Hawaii's entrant in the NAIA national tournament next month. Last year, BYUH upset HPU but both teams advanced to the nationals after the Sea Warriors were awarded an at-large berth.
The 6-foot-7 sophomore forward was named HIAC Player of the Week to go with the weekly Pacific West Conference honor he received Monday. Jenkins scored 27 points and 17 rebounds against St. Martin's and had 28 points and 13 rebounds against Montana State-Billings.
In the PacWest victory over Western New Mexico, Jenkins scored 35 points to increase his HIAC-leading scoring average to 23.4 points. With 35 rebounds last week, he has upped his board average to 9.9 a game.
Jenkins is the top-rated player in the PacWest. In the system that awards points in five categories, Jenkins has 41, to 33 for Reece Gliko of Montana State-Billings.
In NAIA statistics, junior guard Brandyn Akana of Brigham Young-Hawaii is second in free throw percentage (.929).
Hawaii Pacific senior center Juergen Malbeck is No. 5 in field goal percentage (.654).