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Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 28 Digital 4

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Page 72 of 88

GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 28, ISSUE 4 73 "If the game were on TV, Jeff would come back and show me how I should have been credited for more as- sists. I know in those years, along with Brian Walker who was a great passer, we probably lost a few assists per game on the road. Jeff was the one who made that a stat at Purdue. Had he not been there, I would not have had that acclaim." The assist also fueled the rivalry that was heating up at the time between Indiana's Bob Knight and Purdue. Knight had a great freshman guard of his own in Quinn Buckner and didn't always appreciate the attention Parkinson was getting for his assists. After one game, Knight even went as far as to say, "That guy must have been given an assist for every pass he threw in the game." Purdue fans took offense to those remarks and the battle, at least among the fans, about who was better between the two guards raged on. While Parkinson said his best games were against Indiana, he downplays it and has remained friends with many of the former IU players he faced during his day, including Buckner. Steele, Parkinson's long-time buddy, isn't so laid back. "Quinn Buckner was a great winner, but he wanted no part of Bruce Parkinson," Steele said about the IU guard who led the Hoosiers to a 36-0 conference record his junior and senior years in Bloomington. "Park nev- er had a game against Indiana when he wasn't better than Quinn Buckner, and I think Quinn knows that." Parkinson will be forever remembered for his floor leadership skills, but he was also Purdue's lock-down defender from the point guard position. And it is some- thing Parkinson is proud of almost as much as his as- sists record. "It was important to me to draw an opponent's best scorer, and my rebounding was a source of pride, too," said Parkinson, who recalled being second in the Big Ten, averaging 10 rebounds after his first two conference games as a freshman. But it was the quiet toughness that made Parkinson remarkable. He was infamous for being prac- tically unbeatable in one-on-one games with his teammates. As leg- end has it, he beat Kyle Macy, a five- star player of that era, 10-2 in a contest, and that was with a cast on his right wrist. "He simply broke your will in those games," said Dick Satterfield, a walk-on guard who went head-to- head against Parkinson dating all the way back to high school. "I remember him beating a fellow guard, Tom Gilbert, the presumed starter when Parkinson came in, 10-to-nothing. "Tom was never the same as a player again." Parkinson's career at Purdue was rolling along after his junior year. He was a standout on the USA's 1975 Pan American Games squad that included future NBA stars Robert Parish, Otis Birdsong and Wayne "Tree" Rollins. He seemed poised for a great opportunity in professional basketball, but a broken wrist suffered against Rutgers in Madison Square Garden ended Par- kinson's "first" senior season of 1975-76. He was never quite the same after that, despite helping lead the Boil- ermakers to just their second NCAA appearance in his fifth year of 1976-77. "Sometimes it is tough to talk about, as I was never playing better before the wrist injury," Parkinson said. "I had a cast on for five months. The navicular bone in the wrist is the slowest healing bone in your body. I don't know what it was, but coming back a year later, I just wasn't as good as I had been prepared to be. "I was drafted in the NBA and could've tried out after the '77 season, but I was fortunate enough to get the (Red) Mackey scholarship and made the decision at the time to go to grad school. I had a wonderful basketball career for someone who only had hoped to be a starter by junior year. I have no regrets on the life path I chose. The people at Purdue were so good to me." Just over 40 years later, Parkinson has just retired Route 66 Diner and Triple XXX Family Restaurants salute Coach Gene Keady who is the first Boilermaker coach to have a food item named after him. Introducing Coach Keady's JamaicaMeCrazy Burger! Indiana's Oldest Drive-In On the Hill, But on the Level Since 1929

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