Parsons to play for ex-WVU aide
MHS star will walk on with E. Ky.
BY ERIC HANLON The Dominion Post

Seniors Ryan Parsons and Jordan Barnett combined to hit 65 3-pointers this past season for the M o r g a n t ow n High boys’ basketball team, bringing back memories of a time when then-WVU head coach John Beilein’s teams used to light it up from beyond the perimeter.

   Parsons recently said he has decided to continue his basketball career, accepting an invitation to walk on at Eastern Kentucky University, a Division I school in the Ohio Valley Conference.

   The head coach at EKU?

   Jeff Neubauer.

   If that name sounds familiar, it’s because it is.

   Before being named head coach at Eastern Kentucky, Neubauer served three seasons as the top assistant at WVU, under Beilein.

   It’s a perfect fit for Parsons.

   “Their coach used to be here with Beilein and they’re a very 3-point-oriented team,” MHS head coach Tom Yester said. “That’s right up Ryan’s alley, because he’s a really good 3-point shooter.”

   Although NCAA rules prohibit Neubauer from talking specifically about recruits until their letters of intent arrive on campus, the EKU head coach said his team counts on reliable outside shooting.

   “Over the past two years, we’ve had one of the best 3-point-shooting teams in the country,” Neubauer said. “We make about 10 3-pointers a game and shoot around 40 percent from there, which is one of the best percentages in the country over that time. So, obviously, one of the most important parts of our attack is having good 3-point shooters.”

   Parsons fits right into that mold.

   “I know the head coach and type of program he’s gonna run,” Parsons said. “It’s a really good opportunity for me because it’s that Beilein-type system, which is good for a shooter.”

   One of the contributing factors that landed Parsons, son of WVU deputy athletic director Mike Parsons, at Eastern Kentucky is Neubauer’s tie with WVU.

   “My dad being deputy athletic director at WVU, I got to know [Neubauer] and his wife, and my parents are comfortable sending me down there with him there,” Parsons said.

   Listed at 6-foot-3, 185 pounds, Parsons scored 9.9 points a game his senior season and made the allstate team as an honorable mention.

   But playing for a Division I school — one that made the NCAA tournament in 2007 — will be challenging.

   Yester, however, thinks Parsons is up for that challenge.

   “I saw him yesterday working with [former WVU basketball player] Darris Nichols, working to get better. That’s the kind of stuff that he does,” Yester said. “It will be a challenge for him. He could’ve gone one or two other places but wanted to test waters and take a chance” at Division I.

   Yester expects Neubauer to pick up quickly on Parsons’ work ethic.

   “He shot very poorly for us early on this year, but he never cried or complained when his minutes went down,” Yester said. “He just kept working and was certainly one of our better players by year’s end.”

   Parsons was a key to MHS’s run to the state tournament.

   That’s about the same time Parsons first heard from Neubauer.

   “When he first called me, it was a day after Capital beat us in the state tournament,” Parsons said. “That was the first day he talked to me and invited me to walk on. I visited a few weeks later.”

   Once at Eastern Kentucky, Parsons plans on majoring in sports management.

Jason DeProspero/The Dominion Post file photo

Ryan Parsons launches a shot. He scored 9.9 points per game as a senior and was named to the all-state team.

Jeff Neubauer