Thursday, February 21, 2008

All-American Candace Parker to skip senior season at Tennessee

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — All-American forward Candace Parker will skip her senior season at Tennessee.

The redshirt junior will graduate at the end of this season and wants to participate in the summer Olympics and pursue a professional career, coach Pat Summitt said Thursday.

“Obviously we’d love to have her another year,” Summitt told The Associated Press. “Who wouldn’t?”

Parker will be honored as part of the third-ranked Lady Volunteers’ senior night activities before the Feb. 28 game against Florida.

She was unavailable for comment Thursday morning while the team traveled to Alabama. Parker redshirted her freshman season to recover from surgeries to repair a torn knee ligament.

The 6-foot-4 Naperville, Ill., native leads the team in scoring with 20.6 points per game and rebounds with 8.8 per game and is one of six women to have dunked in the college game. She made her seventh career dunk earlier this month against Kentucky.

After leading the Lady Volunteers to their national championship, Parker played with the U.S. national team during her summer break, helping earn a 2008 Olympic bid. She also earned the women’s 2007 John R. Wooden Award.

By skipping her final year of eligibility, Parker has the chance to enter the WNBA draft in April. She would likely go as the top pick.

The Los Angeles Sparks hold the top pick, which would give Parker the opportunity to play alongside Lisa Leslie and former teammates Sidney Spencer and Tye’sha Fluker.

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