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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 to playing with?

PJ: Yeah, got the youngin’ freshman Nasir Price. He'll be running with us in the 16s and then I haven't really seen the team yet, cause they're in Houston. I think they've been working out, but I haven't been able to make one yet, but I mean obviously him, he's a dude in that 2026 class and then Bryce Jackson is another guard that I met actually on the visit to A&M. He was there and they told me about him so I'm looking forward to playing with them and all the other kids that they bring into the team.

PI: What are your current measurements?

PJ: I know my height is around 6’10”. Weight is around 240, 235 pounds. I actually haven't measured my wingspan yet, which I think we'll do sometime soon. Coach said we'll do some testing and stuff because they do testing before our workouts and our offseason starts to see growth.

PI: What is your recruitment update?

PJ: My offers are LSU, Texas Tech, TCU, Oklahoma State, SMU, and Texas A&M. I don't know about Alabama State because Coach Mo [Williams] was at Alabama State and then he moved to Jackson State, but I'm tight with Coach Mo. He coached me in fifth grade and he basically told me wherever I'm at, you have an offer from, but obviously I'm not going to, “Oh, he moved. Let me post I have that offer” like it's really nothing. Kentucky and Michigan State have been in touch. Florida was a recent [offer]. Coach Hartman actually is over there. He recruited my brother when he was at Oklahoma so it was kind of a full circle moment and then stuff like that. Obviously schools like San Francisco came to a practice like last week so I mean, people like that and other schools have been expressing interest. Gonzaga is another one as well, they’ve been in the mix, too.

PI: You mentioned that both of your parents went to Arkansas. Have they reached out, as well?

PJ: We went on an unofficial [visit] earlier this year. Around September, I went to the Alabama football game. I mean, obviously all the writers up there were kind of getting into it because they knew my parents went to Arkansas so they were kind of building the clout around that. Coach Ronnie Brewer is the one who's been recruiting me.

PI: Have you had a dream school growing up?

PJ: I kind of started off with one, but now I don't really have one. When I was a kid, my dream school was Kentucky. But I mean really, now that I see that anybody can go to the league or go pro from anywhere, it's really just the best academic school for me and also basketball school as well, but just the school I can go to and not just be there for basketball. Actually be there and be proud to go to the school and be proud to call myself an alum after I graduate, so just stuff like that. That's kind of why the dream school aspect isn't really there, anymore.

PI: Which schools are you hoping to visit in the near future?

PJ: I’ve been told that Florida is a campus that everybody should see. Obviously, I want to get out there to Florida. Lawrence, Kansas, I want to see that campus someday. All of them are unique in their own ways. Like LSU was a pretty nice campus. I liked that one a lot. It's really all I want to see for myself and just see what all they have in a unique way to each of their own.

PI: There are a lot more post-grad options available these days with G League Ignite, OTE, and NBL, among others. Have you and your family done much research into those opportunities?

PJ: Note really. OTE was in contact with us, but I don't really think that's the best move for me, especially coming off the injury. But yeah, they actually contacted me and my brother. Other than that, I haven't really looked into G League or stuff like that, or other prep schools yet.

PI: What are your biggest interests outside of basketball?

PJ: Right now, I play video games sometimes. Most of the time, just chilling around the house or something I can do. Video games still have a competitive aspect but then again you can chill like it's not nothing too crazy. So yeah, I probably say video games. I like to listen to music, watch Netflix. I just finished Outer Banks. It’s a great show. Yeah, just stuff like that. I mean, spending time with my family. Anything, really. Just anything to get my mind off of things.

PI: When you say video games, you mean 2K?

PJ: I mean, I've kind of gone towards Rainbow Six Siege. I don't know if you know the game, but I mean it's kind of like Call of Duty, but more realistic. That's the game most all the time now. It’s been blowing up, for sure.

PI: Who are your favorite music artists?

PJ: I'll probably say Drake. Drake's up there. I listen to a lot of Juice WRLD, as well. And then I'll take it back to old school. I like some Biggie as well, stuff like that.

PI: You have one hashtag to describe yourself. What is it?

PJ: That's a good question. I’d just say #ChooseJoy.

PI: If you weren’t pursuing a career as a professional hooper, what do you think you would choose to do?

PJ: That's a good question, as well. So we've grown up around agriculture a lot. I was born in Louisville, Kentucky. My dad had a horse farm out there. Moved to Texas, we had a farm, so that's probably what I’d do. I want to major in agriculture. I don't know yet. My dad has a farm right now in East Texas that he runs. It's a Wagyu farm. Obviously, I want to help out with that if this doesn't go as planned or you know after my career that's something I would love to do. I just like being around animals and the aspect of farm life.

PI: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

PJ: Best piece of advice, I'll probably just say there's really a lot of people that have told me and my parents mostly. They basically told me, “nobody cares about how you're doing or what's going on, but only you can basically control how you take that.” So you know, obviously coming off the injury, I'm not the same and people have expectations. They're like, “oh, I've seen this kid. Why is he not playing as good as he was before?” They kind of told me that, “people don't care that you're hurt, so get through it and just figure out a way to become better off of that.” So that's kind of what they told me. Obviously coming off the injury, it was tough. A lot of tough moments, but that was kind of in the back of my head every time I played.

PI: Are you an introvert or extrovert?

PJ: I'm a little bit of both, but I'd probably say more of an introvert.

PI: How would you define the word ‘success?’

PJ: I'll probably just say a point in your life where you're happy enough to where you feel like you've done all you can and really just achieving your happiness. Success, some people put a label on it like money or this certain point of my career, but I think of it as just finding your certain happiness and where you should be in life and where you feel like you belong. So I feel like that's what success means to me.

PI: What is your dream NIL deal and why?

PJ: My mom made a joke because I always carry this around with me all day (proceeds to show his water bottle). You know, I'll probably drink around a gallon or a gallon and a half of water every day. So I mean, obviously probably a water NIL deal honestly like with a water brand or something. That or like with Crocs or something like that. But yeah, the water deal would be awesome. Just cause my mom was like, “you have it with you all day.” A water bottle or something, a design. Yeah, for sure.

PI: Where do you see yourself in five years?

PJ: Five years, I see myself hopefully on an NBA team, helping them achieve a championship in the near future. Probably a top player in the league, hopefully. But I mean, all that's a while away, but in five years I see myself helping an NBA team to a good record and also a playoff run.

PI: Name four words that best describe you.

PJ: I’d probably say motivated, humble, caring, and passionate.

PI: At the end of the day, what do you hope to be remembered for?

PJ: As a player, I just want to be remembered as somebody who gave their all at all times, no matter how it's going, good or bad. I want to be remembered as a good leader. I want to be remembered as one of the top big men to ever play the game, really. And then as a person, I just want to be remembered as somebody who anybody could talk to. I mean anybody can approach and come talk to me. Somebody who was a good family man, great brother, father, friend. I just want to be remembered as somebody who everybody knew that if you ever wanted to talk to him, you could and that he'd help anybody if they needed it — so I think that's what I would say.


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