MINNEAPOLIS (BVM) — On April 15, Parker Fox announced via Twitter that he would be returning home to Minneapolis to finish his collegiate basketball at the University of Minnesota.
— Parker Fox (@Parkerfox24) April 16, 2021
“I’m extremely excited to be a Gopher,” Fox said. “It’s a great honor to be able to play for a program that you looked up to growing up so I am very grateful for that.
The Mahtomedi native grew up a Gopher fan, but it wasn’t a guarantee that he would ever get to play for his hometown team.
After an impressive high school career with Mahtomedi High School, he only had one scholarship offer heading into college. That was from Northern State University, a Division II school in Aberdeen, South Dakota.
“I am extremely grateful for the university that I’ve been at, Northern State University,” Fox said. “It’s a top tier program and it’s one of the best Division II programs in the country. Not only that, it’s an extremely special place.”
Fox redshirted his freshman year but quickly became an important contributor for the Wolves after his redshirt season, first as the leading scorer and rebounder off the bench as a redshirt freshman and then as a starter the last two seasons.
As a sophomore for NSU, Fox led the team in scoring and rebounding with 19.9 points per game and 8.8 rebounds per game. The 6-foot-8 forward also had 75 blocks on his way to being named Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) Defensive Player of the Year and NSIC Tournament MVP.
It was an impressive season, but Fox didn’t think about transferring. He still had work to do as a Wolf.
“I owe a lot to this university,” Fox said. “It’s the only university that gave me a scholarship offer. … I think I owed it to them to be a part of my four years and then secondly I wanted to graduate from the university and be a college graduate from the place I started at.”
Fox also never viewed his time at Northern as just a way to get to Division I. For him, it has always been about being the best he could possibly be at the sport he loved. Where he did that didn’t matter to Fox.
Another big reason for his decision to stay for his junior year was the team that NSU was bringing back was set up to be a special one. Along with Fox, the team this past season featured Mason Stark, who has since transferred to Division I Northern Arizona University, and Andrew Kallman, who is transferring to North Dakota State University.
The Wolves lived up to the hype, going 19-2 on the way to an NSIC record sixth-straight NSIC Tournament championship and a Sweet 16 appearance in the DII national tournament.
Fox was once again won NSIC North Defensive Player of the Year as well as Player of the Year and was an All-American. He led NSU in scoring with 22.3 points per game and in rebounding with 9.9 rebounds.
With his goal of graduating from Northern accomplished, Fox announced he would be entering the transfer portal and this time the college recruiters came in droves. It did not take long for Fox to amass almost 100 offers from schools.
Fox began the process of whittling down his choices until he had just eight schools remaining to choose from: Minnesota, Creighton, Dayton, Florida State, Ohio State, San Diego State, TCU and Vanderbilt.
— Parker Fox (@Parkerfox24) April 3, 2021
“It was a grind, it was exciting, it was challenging, it was every single emotion but at the end of the day I trusted coach Ben Johnson and his program, his ideas for me and my future,” Fox said.
It is a big signing for both and Fox the program he is joining. He will be joining a program that is looking to build for the future and create culture that Fox would recognize from his time at Northern, a perennial powerhouse.
“I’ve been a part of winning and I know what it takes to win,” Fox said. “I’ve won five straight conference championships dating back to my high school time.”
The redshirt junior has also been on a team that has won 107 games over his four years in Aberdeen and Fox’s ability to bring that mentality to Minneapolis will be important for the Gophers.
Fox’s other goal is to help keep Minnesota talent home. A Minnesota product himself, he has a lot of pride in the quality of high school basketball that is played in the state and wants to begin the process of showing the top Minnesota high school players that they can stay home for college and still have success.
“I want to be a stepping stone for some of these other guys and share my story of coming into Minnesota and being an integral part of their program,” Fox said. “Not only their program for the next two years while I’m here but their success down the road and building this up to be a power house program.”
For now, Fox is focusing on being prepared for June when the Gophers can begin their offseason work and from there it will be about that first time he will get to wear a Minnesota uniform.
“It’s probably going to be a pretty emotional day because I’ve worked so hard for it but at the end of the day I know I deserve it,” Fox said. “I know the work I’ve put in, I know this is where I want to be and more importantly I know this is where I’m supposed to be.”