GRC’s Sam Parrish signs with Southwestern Illinois College

Published 2:04 pm Monday, May 15, 2023

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Southwestern Illinois College, a public community college in southern Illinois, once was the home of University of Kentucky super-sub Josh Harrelson.

Now, it will be home to one of George Rogers Clark High School’s greatest basketball players.

Sam Parrish, a 5’11, 163-lb. point guard who starred at GRC the last two seasons, officially signed to play basketball for the Storm at the high school’s cafeteria during a ceremony on Thursday.

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“One thing you can definitely say about Sam [is] he definitely left everything out on the court. Nobody can ever doubt that”, said GRC Athletic Director Mike Ritchie. “He was definitely a hard worker and definitely a hard player in practice and games.”

Parrish, who started his high school playing days at Tates Creek in Lexington, began at GRC following the 2020-21 season.

At that point, he was following a season where he’d scored nearly 17 points per game.

Over the next two years, as the Cards emphasized sharing the ball offensively, Parrish still averaged approximately 14 points per game.

In the third game of this past season, against Madison Central, Parrish scored his 1,000th point en route to finishing with 1,486 points over five years of play.

Late in the fourth quarter in a state semifinal matchup against Lincoln County in 2022, Parrish delivered a critical three-point basket that gave the Cards the lead.

They would go on to a double-overtime victory.

“We’ve played in some big games and big moments, and I don’t think you’ve ever had to question that if Sam Parrish had an opportunity to make the shot or make the play, he’s [going to] do it,” said GRC Head Basketball Coach Josh Cook.

Yet, while playing for the Cards’ teams that reached the state championship game in each of the last two seasons, winning against Warren Central in 2022 before finishing as runner-up following a rematch this past year, it was on the other side of the ball where fans might best remember Parrish.

Often asked to defend against the opposition’s top players, Parrish played a crucial role in slowing down some of the state’s top guards.

“He’s a tremendous defender,” Cook said. “That was something that I really believed that he could do.”

Various students, teammates, staff, and others weren’t the only ones celebrating Sam’s accomplishments in the cafeteria.

Athletes from former teams that GRC played this season, including Madison Central’s Jaylen Davis and Frederick Douglass’ Kai Simpson, were present to show support.

With family members on each side of him, Parrish also delivered a message.

“I’d like to say thanks to God and my friends, my family, teammates and coaches and especially my mother for helping me throughout my journey,” he said. “I’ve never seen my mom give up, no matter how hard things got. That’s [driven] me to work hard and molded me into the man I am today. With all that being said, Let’s go, SWIC.”