- About Us
- More Sports
OXFORD, Miss. — There’s a new norm sweeping college basketball. With players afforded an extra year of eligibility due to COVID-19 and the NCAA expected to allow players to transfer via a “one-time rule,” a surge of players has become available.
On the day of writing, we have seen over 1,000 basketball players join the NCAA’s transfer portal. Some teams have been hit hard because of this. Smaller schools like UT-Martin have had 15 players enter the portal; Jacksonville has had 10.
A little less likely to have transfer numbers in the double digits are power-five programs; however, some have still had to adapt. Eight players at Pitt have joined the portal in 2021 while schools like Cincinnati and Indiana have had six apiece.
Ole Miss finds itself in the group of teams who have had five players enter the portal: K.J. Buffen, Antavion Collum, Dimencio Vaughn, Khadim Sy, and Shon Robinson.
Many teams are finding themselves in somewhat similar situations. Players have all sorts of reason to look elsewhere, whether it be basketball related or for personal matters. Ole Miss head coach Kermit Davis continues to aggressively pursue players in the portal which led to him landing the aforementioned Vaughn, Romello White, and Robert Allen.
With the departures, scholarships have become available and the Rebels will look to bring in new faces as they did last year. Ole Miss’ 2021 class already features Top-40 player Daeshun Ruffin, James White, Grant Slatten and the newly-signed Eric van der Hejiden.
This year the Rebels haven’t wasted any time looking into the available players as we have seen them linked to many athletes in the portal.
Ole Miss has reached out to Penn State’s Myreon Jones, Pitt’s Au’Diese Toney, Boston College’s C.J. Felder, College of Charleston’s Zep Jasper, and Charleston Southern’s Phlandrous Fleming.
The one name Rebel fans might not recognize is Parker Fox, and he may just be the best player you have not heard of.
Fox is from Mahtomedi, Minnesota and spent his first four years playing at Northern State (Division II) in South Dakota. Any time a player makes the jump from Division II to Division I, it makes for a good story. However, with Fox the move is more than warranted as he possesses great size and modern-day athleticism for an above the rim forward.
This past season the 6-foot-8 forward added an NABC All-American award to his growing collection of accolades. On the year, Fox averaged 22.3 PPG (points per game) while grabbing 9.9 RPG (rebounds per game) and led all of D2 in blocks with his 74 in 21 games.
In his junior year at Northern State, Fox was named NSIC Defensive Player of the Year for his conference. That season he averaged 19.9 PPG and 8.8 RPG.
Since season’s end Fox has decided to enter the transfer portal and has attracted all sorts of high-major interest. He now has offers from or has spoken to over 100 programs — including the Rebels — and I was lucky enough to be able to ask him a couple of questions about his recruitment.
Rebel Walk: For those who don’t know you, tell us about your game a little bit. What do people need to know?
Parker Fox: I play hard with a lot of passion and effort. I score the ball really well on the pick and roll and love to make highlight plays with big dunks. I’m athletic enough to finish around and over people as well as stretch it out to the pick and pop three. I led D2 in blocked shots this year, so I love to play defense as well.
On a little D2 kick here today. Parker Fox from Northern State is a fun player. Had 80 dunks in 21 games this season, more than any D1 player. In the transfer portal right now. pic.twitter.com/WCMbYeEziM
— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) March 26, 2021
Rebel Walk: You play with energy, crazy bounce and it seems like you have a chip on your shoulder. Has this always been your style or is it something that’s been more recent?
Parker Fox: I only received one Division II scholarship offer coming out of high school so I’ve always had a chip on my shoulder and have wanted to prove others wrong and prove myself right. I just play hard in all aspects of the game. I’ve always played this way because I love the game and I respect the game.
Parker Fox @Parkerfox24 attacked the rim with aggression every time for Northern State.
— Next Ones (@NXT1S) May 25, 2020
Rebel Walk: You’ve had an astronomical recruitment process. You’re going D2 to D1. What’s it like seeing all these calls come in?
Parker Fox: I plan on finding the right division one school for me to attend. That has to be a place with good education but also somewhere that I can come in and make an impact as a player and propel me towards a professional career.
“It was crazy, I think I entered the portal and then a minute later my phone was just buzzing and buzzing and buzzing… Obviously it is exciting, it’s an honor to go through this process and talk to great coaches but it is a little overwhelming and a little stressful. I had to put my phone down at some point but it has been really fun and I have been fortunate to hear from some of these schools that I have been hearing from.”
Rebel Walk: What other schools have been going after you?
Parker Fox: Creighton, Cal Berkley, South Carolina, LSU, Xavier, Butler, Arkansas, Nebraska, Vanderbilt, Seton Hall, Texas A&M, TCU, New Mexico, Georgetown, Boston College.
As of writing this Fox has also been in contact with Minnesota. Look for the Gophers to make a strong push for him.
Rebel Walk: What has Ole Miss talked to you about and who is recruiting you?
Parker Fox: Coach Hamilton. I got to learn a little bit more about the program and their plans for the future as well as what my role on the roster would be.
The Rebels can certainly look to add a forward in the portal as the front court depth currently consists of only Sammy Hunter and Robert Allen. In Travis Branham’s 247Sports article regarding Fox’ recruitment by Ole Miss, Branham adds: “His conversation with Ole Miss was brief but the Rebels are planning to continue pursuing the Northern State star.”
Look for Fox to finish his academic semester out in May and then join whatever program he chooses (in May) to get acclimated for what looks to be a very bright future.
(Feature image credit: Northern State University)
TJ Oxley is a current MBA student at Ole Miss after having earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Toledo. He currently covers college hoops and the NBA Draft for the Basketball Society as well as all things Ole Miss for The Rebel Walk.