Player Feature: Riley Parkinson

WITH the Australian basketball world growing greater and greater on a yearly basis, players are granted opportunities overseas, with more recognition leading to greater opportunities. Youngster Riley Parkinson has been able to take full advantage of this, earning himself a spot at Bethel College in Kansas, United States. The 18-year-old has worked tirelessly on his game to be given a shot, and is looking forward to finally reaping the rewards of his efforts.

A 5ft 11in shooting/combo guard, Parkinson is looking to shine in the United States Collegiate system, and his basketball journey demonstrates his willingness to work and achieve his goals.

Parkinson only started playing basketball at the age of 14, but his work ethic saw him rise to the top of his local league. Just two years later he was offered a spot in the Diamond Valley representative team, where a strong pre-season would unfortunately be put to waste due to the outbreak of COVID-19 forcing a season cancellation. This sparked the youngster to continue to work on his game, knowing opportunities would present once the COVID interruptions had passed.

His decision to move to the Whittlesea Pacers may have seemed odd at the time, but this ended up paying off big time with his selection to the division one U21’s side at just 17-years-old. Parkinson decided he wanted to continue his journey beyond this level, so he began producing highlight tapes of his outings and reaching out to coaches overseas, knowing it was his best shot at receiving offers.

“I had multiple prep school offers, to go play in places such as Los Angeles, New York, North Carolina, Maine, and many more places. But I only got one college offer, from an NAIA school in Kansas,” Parkinson said. “I felt a good relationship with the coach straight away, and after keeping in contact every day, I was sent my letter of intent to commit. I signed that and am now committed to Bethel College.”

Parkinson began training with Aussie NCAA star Robbie Heath, which pushed his game to the next level. Squeezing in workouts outside of school hours as much as possible, Parkinson elevated his intensity, thanks to a lifelong work ethic that has seen him push himself beyond his limits, and he believes he is a handy addition to any team.

“I think my biggest strengths are my shooting abilities, leadership abilities, and I would say I am a very coachable player. I’m always the one you can hear on the court, and I always have the willingness to learn,” Parkinson explained.

While he credits his parents as his biggest inspiration, Parkinson also learnt a lot from the late Kobe Bryant, who taught the young gun the meaning of working hard to achieve success. With Heath a prime example of shining in the American college basketball system, the future looks bright for this young basketball sensation.

Picture credit: Riley Parkinson via Twitter

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