Lady Rider Ja'Kayla Parks signs letter to play college basketball
All-around Center High School standout student athlete Ja'Kayla Parks on Friday afternoon inked a contract to take her passion for basketball to the collegiate level.
Flanked by her grandparents, Brenda Randle and Martin Randle, Parks went over details of the commitment with Angelina College Head Basketball Coach Byron Coleman. Coleman said he is looking forward to having the Lady Rider standout on his roster.
Center ISD Girls Athletic Coordinator and Head Lady Riders Coach Doug Boone discussed the role Parks has played not only on the CHS basketball teams since he arrived on the scene three years ago. Parks has been instrumental in the Lady Riders programs, including volleyball, basketball and track and field.
“I remember three years ago when I came here, I saw some outstanding young ladies I was excited about I was going to be able to coach,” Boone said. “But Ja'Kayla really stood out and these last three years she has really done some amazing things for us.”
Boone said Parks displayed some incredible talent and will be sorely missed in the Lady Rider programs.
“But the thing that really stood out for me was her passion for the game of basketball and her desire to play at the next level,” he said. Boone noted the Angelina College already has some All-American players who Parks will be joining.
“She's proven here we have the ability here to move to the next level,” he said.
The signing ceremony took place in the CHS Library with fellow student athletes and students and staffers on hand. Parks noted the signing event represented a milestone in her student athletic career.
“This means a lot to me,” she said. “I'm blessed and so very thankful for this opportunity.”
In the meantime before donning the Angelina College uniform in the fall, Parks is helping shore up the CHS Lady Rider track and field squad by participating in several running events along with the high jump and long jump.
But she said basketball has been her true passion. For younger student athletes coming up through the ranks, Parks provided words of encouragement.
“I say stay focused and don't give up,” she said. “When times get hard, keep your head up and never give up.”