NILES – With Austin Parks, you get the whole package.
"You're talking about a kid that never takes a play off," Niles coach Todd Pawieski said. "In practice, in a game, and in the classroom, he is dedicated, hardworking and driven."
Parks is the leading scorer on the undefeated Niles boy’s basketball team, averaging 17 points a game. And his numbers off the court are even more impressive. His 3.96 grade point average ranks eighth in his senior class. He says he is as competitive with that as he is with basketball.
"My best friends actually tease me all the time," Parks said. "Like, 'man, its senior year, don't worry about it, you've already been accepted into college.' But I'm like, 'no man, I've got to get this done, I've got to get an A on this.'"
Parks says he probably would not catch the seven kids ahead of him. But in fairness, he does not get to play defense against them. His defense on the court is pretty good though.
"We've never had a kid that has worked so hard from one summer to now to get to the level he's at," Pawieski said. "He makes great decisions with the basketball, making a ton of shots for us and having a 3.9 grade point average. He's involved in about every student event that we have here at the school. Great personality comes from a basketball family, very high basketball IQ. And he's just a wonderful kid to be around."
In short, he is exactly what you want in a high school basketball player. But ask him about that, and he is quick to defer to those around him.
"I have a great set of parents," Parks said. "I have a great family at home, I have four older siblings. I have a great group of best friends, a great staff of teachers, and a great community. So I'm just trying to live up to what I want to be and the man I want to be."