UGA football target hangs up helmet and shoulder pads to focus on basketball ONLY

Dai-Jon Parker, one of the nation’s premier two-sport athletes, has given up football in order to focus on basketball only during his senior year.

What advice would you give Dai-Jon Parker for his senior year?

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The 6-foot-3, 185-pounder starred at wide receiver and cornerback for Milton High this past season as a junior, and got 11 early football offers, including UGA, Oklahoma State, Vanderbilt, Duke and Mississippi State.

However, Parker is also highly-regarded in hoops, holding basketball scholarship offers from UGA, Georgia Tech, Virginia, Auburn, Ohio State, Oregon, Purdue, Virginia Tech, and Oregon State, among others.

Parker plays shooting guard, posting 19 points and 6 rebounds in Milton’s win over Westlake for Class AAAAA state championship. After the basketball season, Parker briefly considered playing both sports as a senior. However, he opted not to report to Milton’s spring football practice, which ended on Friday.

When asked about Parker, Milton football coach Scott Walker said, “Not playing.”

“He was advised against [football], and sometimes you can’t win those battles. I still don’t think it’s the best decision. But, you know, he’s a great kid and a great basketball player. You can’t argue with that. Hopefully, everything will work out the way it’s supposed to go for him. Again, great kid, and we wish him the best.”

Milton basketball coach David Boyd said Parker informed him about giving up football earlier this month. “I didn’t really have much input on that at all. Dai-Jon just felt like that basketball was going to be an opportunity to play at a high Div. I level. And depending on where he ends up, it could be a really good situation for him.”

Milton's Dai-Jon Parker is betting on basketball for his future (AJC)

Milton's Dai-Jon Parker is betting on basketball for his future (AJC)

Parker has played in the shadows of two heralded teammates, Milton point guard Shannon Scott (committed to Ohio State) and power forward Julian Royal (undecided). However, some college coaches consider Parker the No. 1 recruiting target at the Fulton school.

“The thing that makes Dai-Jon so unique is that he’s a great athlete, great shooter, and great defender,” Boyd said. “Those are rare commodities in one player. You might have a great shooter, or a great athlete, or a great defender. But rarely do you have all three in one player.

“That’s what Dai-Jon brings to the table. He is an outstanding 3-point shooter, an explosive athlete, and maybe the best defender I’ve ever coached. He’s a ’shut down, lock down’ defender. He guarded all the other team’s best players during the season, and did a superb job.”

Parker will travel the country this summer, playing with two different AAU teams.

79 comments Add your comment

Michael Carvell

May 24th, 2010
2:03 am

Parker obviously has much better offers in basketball — not even close. However, if he had participated in spring football and got the word out that he was committed to playing football in college, who knows? He might have equal or better opportunities in football by now. Could he change mind and go out for football in August? Unlikely. As far as basketball, Parker is one of most exciting players I’ve ever seen in high school. He is always lurking, waiting for the perfect time to make a momentum-changing dunk that will bring everybody in the gym (even opposing fans) to their feet. And when he goes hard to the rim, it doesn’t matter who is in the way, he will go through or over them. He plays basketball as if it was football, very physical and in your face. If he masters dribbling — and that’s his primary focus this summer — then he’s the complete package, as good as any high school guard for the 2011 high school class. If he has a big summer, he will easily double his number of basketball offers.

Willie Martinez

May 24th, 2010
4:21 am

Are you going to blame this on me?

Devildog

May 24th, 2010
6:46 am

“Much better offers?” Are they going to pay him more to play basketball?
Doesn’t matter how many offers. He can only play for one school . . . and probably for only one year.
He’s going for the quick money and I can’t blame him.

dawgma

May 24th, 2010
6:48 am

Just another victim of an increasingly frustrating problem. Kids motivated by their coaches (and parent “mommies”) to play one sport so they can “focus” on a D1 scholarship opportunity. Whatever happened to the pride of being the best all around athlete in high school?

Hope this “D1″ lock learns how to dribble Michael.

SAT Score

May 24th, 2010
6:58 am

Superman can play for the NBA and NFL.

Tim

May 24th, 2010
7:02 am

Dai-Jon is doing the right thing for his future. If he gets hurt playing football, how much money will Milton High School contribute to his college education? If he gets hurt playing basketball, then it was totally his decision to play.

My guess is dawgma’s kid is a fat dumb@ss who wears nothing but red and black and whose only sport consists of sitting in front of a TV with a game controller in hand.

MrAttitude

May 24th, 2010
7:18 am

“I thought ‘Dai-Jon” was a type of fancy mustard. Where do those people come up with those names?

Hey Slaw Dawg,
Pull your collar up – the color of your neck is showing. I guess he should have been named Bubba.

papadawg

May 24th, 2010
7:23 am

Now is the time to make a decision and NOT mislead colleges on your intentions. Your decision, make it for yourself

PDawg

May 24th, 2010
7:24 am

I’m with Slaw Dawg on this one. Beware people with hyphens in their name!

Kirby Smart

May 24th, 2010
7:35 am

If I were at UGA, he would have committed to play football.
I can turn water into wine and I would have made UGA shine.

cantondawg

May 24th, 2010
7:54 am

Best of luck Dai-jon on your decision. I think it’s a wise decision to focus on one sport. Its sounds like you have the capability to be a NBA player and make millions an set yoursefl up for life. This is a smart decision

ew

May 24th, 2010
8:06 am

“If he masters dribbling…” I understand what you mean by that but to stake his future in basketball when he’s not a great dribbler already…and he plays the 2 guard…seems a little shortsighted to me..I think he would have benefited from the football workout program too…but hey, best of luck to this kid..I hope he’s listening to the right people.

dawglasville

May 24th, 2010
8:08 am

Dogma and Slaw Dawg- both of your comments are out of line and you are not representing the fan base very well. This does not help with recruiting.

Mr. Attitude- you compound the issue by throwing stones back.

Can’t we just leave all of this crap out of the blogs.

Duh

May 24th, 2010
8:12 am

Funny that he has an offer from UGA for basketball and some Dawg fans will hate on this kid just because he’s not considering footbally anymore. Goes to show why UGA athletics doesn’t have the same national respect as Florida and Tennessee despite UGA doing much better across the board in the past 10-20 years. Our own fans slam anything not football while the attitude of Gators and Vols is to want to be the best at everything from football to academics and even in the workforce.

As far as his offers go, in football, UGA is easily the most high profile offer on the table with the rest being bottom feeders of their respective conferences. Even Oklahoma State is a mid tier program just enjoying a decent 3 year run. Meanwhile, in basketball, Tech (sorry but true), OSU, and Purdue are all high profile programs in hoops with the rest of his stated offers coming from high profile schools who could easily make noise in basketball with the right signees.

Sounds like he made the right choice to me…hopefully he’ll make another and sign with UGA as the Hoop Dawgs would have a pretty impressive run of signees over several years.

Rob

May 24th, 2010
8:12 am

Finally. A kid who made up his mind about something early. Kudos to him.

suwaneedawg

May 24th, 2010
8:16 am

I think you are going to see more of this happening due to the fact that all three major sports are demanding on a high school players time now. Fo example, when football ends they start weight training in January and before you know it spring practice is here. Basketball starts during football season and that does not count the summer leagues that go on. Baseball also goes year round counting in practices and summer leagues. The days of lettering in 2 or 3 sports for star players may be coming to a slow end.

sec fan

May 24th, 2010
8:16 am

Did not have an offer from UGA. Believe he had one from that Ga. Nerd school.

Pago Pago Dawg

May 24th, 2010
8:22 am

We agree, how can a normal guy have two (2) last names, we know women do it…..but males?!

Dixie Clear

May 24th, 2010
8:30 am

wait, what about the ” dream team “…..lol

Why Play for

May 24th, 2010
8:45 am

Richt.

UGA football is boring! Back to my free throws…

Subrational

May 24th, 2010
8:50 am

Making the right decision? The right decision would be to give more scholarships for academics. Glorify athletics while the nation crumbles. Nero must be laughing.

WonderDawg

May 24th, 2010
8:52 am

Mr Duh, please go back and actually read the posts again then tell us who is “hating on” this kid?

I hope Dai-Jon hits another growing spurt, because at 6′3″ is a little short for shooting guard in Div 1, and really short for the NBA.

That said, good luck to the kid. Maybe he’ll play one or both sports at UGA.

WonderDawg

May 24th, 2010
8:59 am

So, “Why Play for”, what exciting coach and program do you pull for?

Barack Dawg

May 24th, 2010
9:13 am

This kid should do what is right for him and his family and not us.

Dawgma – who the hell cares about being the best all around athlete in High School? That does not pay what the NBA or NFL pays. He will make a lot more money playing basketball versus football and with a lower risk of serious injury as well.

What you should be saying is that you hope UGA can convince him to come and play basketball as dominating as he is in that sport.

Love the SEC

May 24th, 2010
9:22 am

It’s a beautiful thing to see these dawgs hate on each other. They show their true colors.

But bullying a bunch of skinny high schoolers while “going to the rim” is not all that impressive.

RxDawg

May 24th, 2010
9:43 am

Well ok. If that’s what he would like to do than good for him. What else is there to say?

Navigator

May 24th, 2010
9:44 am

That is a bad career decision, as their aren’t many 6′ 3″ shooting guards in the NBA. However they’re clamoring for 6′ 3″ defensive backs in the NFL, but as I’ve said before, a kid has to go with their heart.

Dawggone

May 24th, 2010
10:06 am

Did you ever think, maybe he just likes basketball better? Playing two sports at a high level is hard enough in high school, and next to impossible in college, especially if the kid wants to do the things necessary to reach his highest potential. Sounds like a reasonable decision.

G-dub

May 24th, 2010
10:09 am

I agree with you Navigator, there are at least a million 6′3″ guards and I really have not seen NBA potential in this kid, although he is a great high school player the NBA only picks 48 players a year. With his size and ability he would be a lock for the NFL.

jarvis

May 24th, 2010
10:13 am

Subrational? What are you talking about? More acadmeic scholarships?
This state gave 25,000+ academic scholarships last year.

You don’t think the HOPE Scholarship has enough recipients? I think a 3.0 GPA requirement opens education up to plenty of people. You disagree?

BuzzGT

May 24th, 2010
10:21 am

I think this would only be a story if football was his true love and he gave it up for future financial situations. Otherwise, it seems like a pretty sensible move to me.

Delbert D.

May 24th, 2010
10:37 am

Only basketball has the one-and-done deal. However, how many NBA picks do anything unless they are lottery picks? Well, how many Hawks do well *if* they are lottery picks….

James T. Kirk

May 24th, 2010
10:48 am

Makes sense. At least the kid is smart enough to realize that UGA football is a laughing stock and a waste of time

Frank Lane

May 24th, 2010
10:56 am

My exact comment. He is not tall enough to play in the NBA and he is tall enough to play in the NFL. He should concentrate on football.

Spud Webb

May 24th, 2010
11:03 am

Are you sure……….

Peahead

May 24th, 2010
11:12 am

Not a good move. Don’t be a union card holder kid. There are thousands of 6-3 basketball players, but not as many 6-3 wr’s or cb’s playing at a high level in football. Get on the football field

freshd

May 24th, 2010
11:16 am

Id rather see DJ playing for MARK FOX rather than MARK RICHT, because FOX is the better coach and can get him to reach his highest level of talent.

No offer= Not a target

May 24th, 2010
11:27 am

You can’t choose from a school that didn’t offer.

Coach Richt

No offer= Not a target

May 24th, 2010
11:30 am

AJC writers make stories up when they have nothing else to say. HE DID NOT HAVE AN OFFER FROM UGA ACCORDING TO SCOUT AND RIVALS who are both far more credible than Carvell.

LCDawg

May 24th, 2010
11:31 am

I’m guessing over half of the idiots on this site claiming to be Dawg fans never graduated from UGA. If you did you certainly weren’t in any of my classes. All I ask is you think before typing. These are 17-18 year old kids you are talking about.

Johnny DangerDawg

May 24th, 2010
11:41 am

College athletics take up so much time that a 2-sport college star really has almost no time left over for academics or a social life. I certainly don’t blame a guy for deciding to limit himself to the one sport in which he’s most talented (and most likely to succeed). And even if you’re equally talented in both sports, why not pick basketball? The injuries can be much more dangerous in football. Plus, Fred Gibson used to say that football practices/meetings were much more rigorous, physically demanding, and time-consuming than basketball practices.

Subrational

May 24th, 2010
12:06 pm

Jarvis

No, I do not disagree with you. As a matter of fact, HOPE may open educational opportunities to too many. My point, which I should have specified, is the the over-glorification and focus on sports. We have a society in which awards are given ad nauseam to athletes and actors. Yet, we fail to give adequate support, either monetary or moral gratification, to teachers, doctors, police officers, etc. Yes we have a Nobel Prize and other recognitions, but they are not nearly as publicized or held in as high regard by the society as a whole. Hence, our values and societal objectives are severely misguided.

30-24 We Run This State!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

May 24th, 2010
12:16 pm

Is he SEC material in either sport??? He probably should transfer to TECH along with CMR. He would not be a first string player with our SEC (Georgia region) champions.

blackbee

May 24th, 2010
12:19 pm

He should play both, he is a FUTURE PRO in football, a freak. In basketball he is very good but he is a high jumping 6:4 with no handle good enough to play the 2 guard on the Pro level now but he can learn. It is for this reason he should keep all options open.

Cory

May 24th, 2010
12:29 pm

If you only look at both the basketball and football programs at that high school, it should be apparent that he made the better choice to stick with basketball ONLY.
I cannot even believe that the choice to play football at that school was even an option compared to the award winning basketball team they have. Looking at the football history makes me wonder who would would ever choose that school for football anyway? So it is obvious, he made the best decision.

J.D.

May 24th, 2010
12:32 pm

Totally agree with Cory, the football program at Milton is a joke and the basketball program speaks for itself. Mr. Parker is doing the right thing period.

Teacher

May 24th, 2010
12:52 pm

“Why play for” is gay!

SOOHSO

May 24th, 2010
12:59 pm

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Long Gator

May 24th, 2010
1:41 pm

He did the right thing choosing BB.

UGA will miss him. The Gators don’t need any more special team
material. I am truly sorry for your loss.

Ted Striker

May 24th, 2010
2:08 pm

Nice article and thanks for the follow-up comments, Michael