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Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 28 Digital 4

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GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 28, ISSUE 4 72 to be called up to the first team. Parkinson had injured his ankle in preseason workouts in '72 and was late getting started. Back then, the freshmen dressed in the football locker room separate from the old- er guys. One day, Parkinson noticed his basketball attire wasn't in his locker — it had been moved to the varsity locker room. "There wasn't any discussion about it, and I had no idea it was happening," Parkinson said. "I was a fish out of water (with the varsi- ty). I remember putting my Purdue uniform on before that first game along with the shirt we would wear that had our name on the back, and I accidentally put it on backwards. Fortunately, my teammates said something and I didn't go out and embarrass myself. "Going from Yorktown High School to starting in the Big Ten was a dream that I couldn't have even imag- ined. All these years later, I still can't." He started his first college game and never came off the bench to begin a game for the rest of his 112-game career. No Purdue player has started more consecutive games than Parkinson (112). In his first Big Ten game, he was an assist short of recording the first triple-double in Purdue history. His 12 points and 13 rebounds helped Purdue, a team predicted to finish near the bottom of the Big Ten in Schaus' first season, defeat a tough Illi- nois team that ended up tying the upstart Boilermakers for third place that season. The irony there: It was an assist that prevented the triple-double. And there has never been a better assist man in Purdue basketball history than Parkinson. Forty-one years later, it's really not all that close. Parkinson's 690 career assists outdistance runner-up Brian Walker (1979-81) by more than 100 and his ca- reer 6.2 assists-per-game average might fall into the category of a record that isn't likely to be broken. Parkinson made the assist cool in Big Ten basketball at the time. Until he arrived at Purdue, the statistic wasn't always part of the box score. It shows up on the Boilermakers' team stats dating back to 1970-71, but Parkinson credits the late Jeff Washburn, then a student statistician in Purdue's SID office before becoming a long-time sports- writer for the Lafayette Journal & Courier, for bringing the assist to the forefront. "When Jeff passed away a few months ago, he was recognized for all the right things, but one thing he wasn't recognized for was that he kept the assist stats," Parkinson said. "We talked about it a lot, what having an assist meant, and Jeff was all over it. Fortunately, that's what I was trying to do on the court. "It got to be such a thing at Purdue that Purdue be- came the first arena in the Big Ten to recognize the as- sist. Jim Miles, public address announcer at the time, would say something like, 'Basket by (Frank) Kendrick, assist by Parkinson.' "For a passer, that was like feeding you a drug. If I knew my pass led to a basket, I knew I would get to hear it from the announcer. Jeff was very astute about keep- ing that, and the sports editor at the time, Bruce Ramey, would write about it. It really helped elevate the status of the importance of an assist in the game." Parkinson didn't always get the same treatment on the road. "Hardly anyone else kept track of assists or paid at- tention to it at the level they did at Purdue," Parkinson said. "I would come home knowing that I had five or six assists, but the stat sheet would only say three. Steve Clark Just retired, Parkinson loves to be around basketball — and talk about it, as he did on "Gold and Black LIVE."

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