The UCLA basketball team has been hit hard by the losses of Tyler Honeycutt and Malcolm Lee over the last two weeks, but coach Ben Howland took a step toward softening those blows when he signed De'End Parker on the first day of the late signing period.
Parker, a 6-foot-6, 215-pound swingman, played point guard at City College of San Francisco last season and helped lead his team to a 32-1 record and the state community college title. He averaged 12 points, six rebounds and five assists and made 43 percent of his three-point attempts. He was co-MVP of the Coast Conference North Division. He will have two seasons of eligibility remaining.
"We are extremely excited about De’End Parker joining our basketball program and family," Howland said in a statement. "He will give us immediate help as a transfer with the loss of our starting wings. He is a very good athlete and a great competitor, but most of all, he is an outstanding young man that will represent UCLA to our expectations in all aspects. He’s a great kid and has been very well coached."
Parker joins current UCLA point guard Lazeric Jones as rare JC transfers at UCLA. Before Jones, who signed before last season, the last significant JC transfer at UCLA was Jack Haley in 1986.
Parker had originally committed to California but switched after receiving an offer from UCLA in early March. He is expected to help at small forward and shooting guard for the Bruins -- the positions vacated when Honeycutt and Lee left school to enter the NBA draft.
"When UCLA offered me a scholarship, I was really excited, and I knew it was a no-brainer after speaking with my family,” Parker said in a statement. “I have spoken to the UCLA coaches and know that I can come in and make an immediate impact. I’m excited about getting the opportunity to play because my natural position is on the wing as an off-guard. UCLA produces the most NBA players and I’m very thankful to have the chance to come in and compete."
The late signing period runs through May 18. Howland is not expected to add any other players before then, though he said on a conference call Tuesday that "anything is possible."