Parker Jefferson Q&A
Coming from an athletic lineage with both parents and all siblings having Division I experience, it is no surprise that Parker Jefferson has naturally developed as a legitimate prospect with high major offers in his early high school career. Jefferson, a top-40 recruit in the class of 2025, is a skilled forward who possesses sound footwork at 6’10” while also being able to stretch the floor. Despite suffering a leg injury last spring, this season the sophomore was an integral contributor for a young and talented Waxahachie High School (TX) program that included 2025 guard King Grace and 2026 wing Trae Nunn, among others.
As part of the Pro Insight Q&A series, Jefferson discussed coming back from the injury, his approach to his game, suiting up for Houston Hoops 16U this upcoming AAU season, growing up around farming, his interest in agriculture, and much more.
For the next installment of the Pro Insight Q&A series, we present 2025 prospect Parker Jefferson, from Waxahachie, Texas:
Pro Insight: How did you get to where you are today? Talk a bit about your background and family.
Parker Jefferson: So starting off, my parents, they both went to Arkansas. My dad played football at Arkansas and my mom played basketball so they've both been at that level. I have two biological siblings. My sister, she's at Sam Houston State playing basketball and my older brother is at Iona playing basketball right now. And then we also have two Nigerian kids that we brought over and adopted. One plays at UNLV and another one plays at East Central Oklahoma. So I mean, obviously just seeing them, I'd be in the gym all the time with my brothers — their practices, my sister’s practices, really just growing up around that. I mean, I had no other choice but to fall in love with it. I was running out of time. I mean, it was just something that kind of was bred into me. So I think that's kind of what led me into the path to where I'm at today and just obviously always seeing basketball.
PI: With an athletic family, would you say your household is competitive?
PJ: Yes. Yeah, so when my brother comes home because, you know, I was injured and he came home, we couldn't play so I mean almost every time he comes home, we gotta play one-on-one. It’s like a must.
PI: Did you play any other sports growing up?
PJ: So my dad, obviously him having his football background, he really kind of made us play — both me and my brother. My brother stayed into it longer because he was actually pretty good at it. I mean, I played until like kindergarten to fourth grade and then that's when I started traveling and started getting more serious with basketball. I also played baseball like first and second grade, but yeah, after that basketball started getting serious and I was like, “yeah, I gotta take this one way.”
PI: For those who aren’t familiar with your game, what are your greatest strengths?
PJ: I'll probably say my footwork. Obviously being a big guy, you see a lot of kids that are not fluid with their movements and they're kind of just out there. I’d probably say my footwork is my strength. Obviously I can shoot and really I just try to mold my game into how hard I play.
PI: Who do you model your game after or study on film?
PJ: You know, I don't like to model my game after one person, but obviously I take a lot of people so I've gotten a lot of people say like Jokic. You know, I watch Jokic, Embiid, Anthony Davis. Also, really it's kind of a wild one, but I kind of like to watch Kawhi Leonard, just how he plays and how he's so fluid with the ball and study his shot mechanics and everything — so people like that.
PI: What do you feel you still need to improve on the most? What have you been working on?
PJ: Especially coming from this injury, probably number-one is my athleticism, my speed. Obviously I have the skills and everything, but right now that’s definitely my main focus — getting more bouncy and obviously my speed up.
PI: Talk a bit more about the process of coming back from the injury. How did you motivate yourself to get in the gym?
PJ: Yeah, I mean it was tough. It was very tough. Coming from that, kind of being at a high level and then coming out of there, at first I was so focused on how to like, “Why? Why did this happen?” Like some nights I couldn't sleep thinking about it, but getting back into it, it was all, “How can I come back from this and really be better than I was?” Obviously I know I'm not going to be the same. It's not going to feel the same. So all of that was thrown out the window. My motivation was really just that I wasn't really putting myself to the standard where I was at before. It's really just playing how you play and the rest will figure itself out. So my motivation was just wanting to get back and play. I mean, that's all I was worried about. I wasn't worried about how much I scored or how I did. It's just I wanted to get on the court.
PI: Who helped you throughout the recovery process?
PJ: My coaches first. I mean, they helped me a lot. Obviously it wasn't easy for them, because we were at a tough point this season and me coming back, it was kind of hard to work it in, but obviously my coaches, my family. My mom and my dad, they supported me through all this. They were at the game when it happened. My mom was recording. Obviously they’ve been with me through it — all of my friends, family, mentors, just everybody that helped me get back into it. They were all by my side and trying to help me get back to where I was.
PI: Talk a bit more about this past season at Waxahachie.
PJ: Oh yeah, it was tough, obviously. We had to kind of figure it out. At some point it was like, “Hey, it doesn't really matter about the wins and losses.” It's our record because really I think our record was probably one of the toughest schedules in the state for sure. Almost every team, and I wasn't even there for half of it, but almost every team we played was top-25, ranked in the state of Texas, no matter the classification. So obviously it was a tough season. Didn't go how we wanted to go, but then again, we gotta learn. Obviously we're young and that was our excuse that we got, but I mean, we didn't really want to use it for our excuse, obviously. But I mean, it's tough with inexperience. Really we only had about two or three people that have been in the playoffs. So it's kind of tough and it's really more about molding the culture because you could have as much talent as you want, but it's the daily things. When you come in and the stuff you do that kind of molds it into the program that it is, and that's what coaches had to do this year. I mean, I've had to fix some things that I do and I’m still fixing things, which you'll say is kind of a losing mentality we have to get out of. It's tough because there are some things you think that you're doing that are OK and really that's what's holding the program back.
PI: Looking ahead, what are your short term goals you have for yourself as a player?
PJ: Just be better than I was this past year and last year. Obviously get more athletic and try to space my game out more to where I can play more of a wing-forward kind instead of a forward-center. And really just try to get better at every single thing I can. I mean 1% better every day, honestly.
PI: You're running with Houston Hoops EYBL this spring/summer?
PJ: Yessir. Yeah, I'll be with them. I'm excited.
PI: Is there anyone in particular you’re looking forward