HEBER CITY — She was just a second-grader playing on a Junior Jazz team with third-, fourth- and fifth-graders when Roger Pyper first met Kim Parker. Even then, it was apparent she was something special.
"She grew up here (in Heber City)," said Pyper, the head coach for Wasatch High. "We knew what we had ... She is just a great athlete. You get players who are good at some things, but you get the whole package with Kim."
Parker's athletic abilities are just part of the reason she was named the Deseret News' 2009 Ms. Basketball. In addition to being a 3.99 student, Parker was the only returning starter on this year's defending state championship team. Her leadership skills and the way she brought out the best in her teammates set her apart from a very talented field of athletes.
"She was so good as a freshman that we just designed the next three years around what she could do," said Pyper.
Parker's versatility, which included playing every position on the floor at one time or another, gave the coach options others could only envy. "We could mix up our defenses," he said. "We could put her on a 6-2 post or a 5-3 guard, and defensively, she'd get the job done.
There is no question Kim can score. And teams could take away her ability to score at times. But if they did, and the other players were where they were supposed to be, Kim can find them.
That is exactly what the future BYU Cougar did this season as she led the group of first-year varsity starters to the school's second straight 3A girls basketball title. Parker averaged 17 points and nearly nine rebounds per game. She also averaged 3.9 assists, 4.4 steals, 5.9 deflections, two blocks and one 3-pointer per contest.
It would be easy for Parker to develop a bit of an ego as she's earned all-state honors in soccer and basketball every season she's played. But Pyper said she has never acted like she's any better than any other player at practice.
"She is just a dream," said Pyper. "She accepts whatever role we need. Last year, we had Tara (Gehring) and she was just happy to help Tara out ... This year, she knew she had to step it up and take over that leadership role."
If Kim Parker has a flaw as a basketball player, it may be that she is too nice.
"She doesn't want to hurt anyone," said her father, Lindsay Parker. "She doesn't want to be mean. So that makes her too unselfish at times, and maybe she passes the ball too much. But I'd rather she be a nice person than a great basketball player."
Luckily, Kim Parker is both. In fact, when she does struggle, she deals with it by working just a little harder.
"She can get frustrated," said Pyper with a little laugh, "but she takes her frustration out on her opponents. Not in a bad way but in getting rebounds, stealing the ball, scoring points. She doesn't take it out on her teammates or anyone else."
Pyper said he has no doubt Parker will be successful in both her college basketball career and whatever else she chooses to take on.
"I have been very fortunate to coach some absolutely terrific athletes and Kim ranks right up there with the best of them," Pyper said. "She's the one who led us through to a 48-2 record (the last two years)."