Race Parsons, the star of the South Sevier High School basketball team in Monroe, Utah, competed in the high school 3-point shooting contest that aired on CBS during the Final Four over the weekend, and many have discovered how truly great of a high school basketball player he was.
His accomplishments and accolades are phenomenal. Parsons is a two-time 2A MVP, two-time 2A State Champion, fifth all-time in Utah high school basketball scoring history, fifth all-time in Utah High School rebounding history, and fourth all-time in career three-pointers made in Utah high school history.
Normally, this type of resume also features arrogance and attitude. With Parsons, however, the complete opposite is the case.
"Sports in general require a high level of confidence to play at a very high level." Parsons' high school coach Scott Hunt says, "You have to be a very confident person, almost teetering and bordering on having that swagger about you, so there is a fine line between being confident, but not crossing that line into cockiness and arrogance, and Race never crossed it.
"If you saw Race walking through the halls of the school, you wouldn’t even know that he was something special, he acts just like a regular kid. There isn't an arrogant bone in his body, but he is very confident, and a warrior on the floor."
"He has always been taught to treat everyone with respect." Race's father Rhett says, "This class that he is in, this class of senior boys, they've been very accepting, and they’ve always been very good to each other, and always been good to the kids that have maybe been a little less fortunate, and I think that’s part of it."
Race’s attitude and character are integral to the type of person he is. His mother, Kim Parsons, says Race learned from an early age how to treat people well.
"We’ve had a saying in our house for a long time during basketball season," she says, "And that is: ‘Stay Humble, and Stay Hungry.’ I think he looks up to people that are humble, and because he does that, that is what he wants to emulate."
Once of Parson's classmates has said, "I've never heard him say anything bad about somebody else." Hunt often speaks of Race's kind heart and willingness to reach out to the younger people of the community. Hunt says when a local 7-year-old in the community — coincidentally, a huge Race Parsons fan — celebrated his seventh birthday, he invited Parsons to attend, and Parsons willingly obliged.
"That's just the kind of kid that Race is," Hunt says. "Just a great young man."
For Race, it's all about giving back to a community that has always supported him.
"I could never show enough appreciation to ... those around me, all of those people who treated me like family, and were there for me." Parsons says. “The amount of support and encouragement we have here at South Sevier is insurmountable. My heart will always be here with the community, and the people that live in it."
Parsons says he feels blessed for the people he has met and the games in which he played while at South Sevier, the community feels blessed to have had the opportunity to watch a high school legend live his dream.
Parsons will play for Southern Utah University's basketball team this fall.
You can follow Mitch Kunzler on Twitter at: @MitchKunzler