Group A top player getting out of town

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Lawrence Parsons led Galax to two state titles and is rewarded with a spot at Ohio Christian University.

By Craig Worrell, Sports Editor

Lawrence Parsons has advanced so much on the basketball floor and done so much for Galax High School hoops that the big guy deserves to get away for a while.

Like, four years.

A chance encounter last spring got the wheels turning and Parsons’ outstanding senior season fueled the process, and the Group A state player of the year landed a scholarship to up-and-coming Ohio Christian.

Parsons signed the necessary paperwork recently at Galax High School, accompanied by OCU coaches Tony Stockman and Jamey Batten.

“We head about him through our school’s president, Mark Smith, who is from the Galax area,” said Stockman. “He came to speak at graduation here and saw Lawrence playing in the gym, and he had a lot of good things to say about him.”

Parson’s game spoke volumes.

With the 6-foot-6 Parsons in the post, Galax compiled a two-year record of 53-4, winnings two Group A Division 1 state championships. Parsons, who was cut as a ninth-grader, exploded during the latter part of his junior season. This year, he averaged 14.5 points, 16.5 rebounds and 9.5 blocks in the state semifinals and finals. His 10 blocked shots in the semifinals broke the previous state record held by the legendary Moses Malone.

Parsons, who has a 7-1 wingspan, had more than 100 blocks as a senior, and developed a surprisingly soft midrange jumpshot.

“I think it’s a great opportunity,” said Tide coach Verl Brown. “It’s a Christian atmosphere, he can get one-on-one attention and the coach is really positive about him. They made the promise that they would take care of him.

“The thing I liked the most about it was, the coach wanted to know what Lawrence wants to do beyond basketball,” Brown said of Stockman, who was the ACC’s top-scoring freshman and top-scoring sophomore at Clemson before transferring to Ohio State. “He’s seen the ropes, and I think he can be a good influence.”

“I think the sky’s the limit for him,” Stockman said. 

Ohio Christian is located in Circleville, just south of Columbus. The Trailblazers compete in the National Christian College Athletic Association, and will also be a member of the NAIA after the coming school year. The Trailblazers are coming off a 27-10 season culminating in the school’s first trip to the NCCAA final four.

“All we’ve ever wanted is what’s best for Lawrence,” Brown said. “And we feel like he has a tremendous opportunity.”