South Western senior Parker Bean remembers it like it was yesterday.
In his sophomore season, his Mustangs were on the bubble to make the District tournament at 14-10. They had just played an away game and were on the bus ride home when they received the text that they had made districts.
"I had the biggest smile on my face," Bean said. "We had a gone 4-15 the year before and now we made districts. We went on to play Hempfield and got our first district win. That was incredible, just realizing all of the hard work paid off."
Little did Bean know that trips to the district tournament would become the norm during his tenure at South Western, or that the hard work would pay off well beyond a trip to districts as a sophomore.
By the time his senior season was over, Bean rewrote the record books, passing 2008 graduate Chad Tipton in points during the Mustangs loss to William Penn in the YAIAA Championship game; Tipton finished his illustrious career with 1,577 points, and Bean finished with 1,592. Bean's 108 blocks and 782 boards also top the school's all-time list.
"It is extremely humbling to me," Bean said. "I am extremely happy that I was able to get the record. I don't think it has hit me yet. In a few years, I will be able to look back and think about some of the things that we were able to do and humbly reflect on it. It is something cool to look back on, but bringing the program to where it is now from where it was five years ago is what I am even happier about."
No one may have been more of a fan of Bean then his head coach, Nate Broadbeck.
"Parker is a pretty special kid," Broadbeck said. "He was very easy to coach and listened to anything we had to say. We really couldn't ask for more. When you really think about it, what he was able to do, it may never happen again. It is pretty cool being a part of it."
All season long, Bean dominated in the paint, scoring in the double-digits in all but one of the Mustang's games.
"My coaches told me day in and day out that I had the opportunity to be dominant down low," Bean said. "I don't think as a younger guy I grasped it as much, but this year and last year I was able to embrace that role a little more."
No school in the Hanover-area may have had a better student section then South Western. It is those fans that Bean will miss most.
"I am absolutely going to miss that more than anything," he said. "It is what you live for as a basketball player -- just the hype of all the fans, running out to the pre-game music -- the total support was awesome."
Some of his best memories came playing at Grumbacher Sport and Fitness Center at York College during YAIAA Championship games in his final two seasons.
"Playing in that game two years in a row was probably the highlight of my career," Bean said. "It was more about the team. Just playing in front of those people at York College. That was a great experience."
A two-sport athlete, Bean was unsure if he'd play baseball or basketball in college until last summer, when he ultimately decided to leave the court behind.
"As a coach, you sometimes wonder what would have happened if a player like Parker would commit to just basketball," Broadbeck said. "He could have been a big-time Division I player. But in the long run, baseball has a brighter future for him and that was the direction he headed. I could not be more proud or excited for him."
Bean has maintained a GPA above 4.0 and will compete in Division I competition at Liberty University next year. In a campus visit, the highly touted 6-foot-6 right-hander saw everything he wanted.
"They had the facilities and the coaches, and they get players through the program and on to pro ball," Bean said. "But definitely the religious aspect was a big factor for me. I come from a Christian-based family. It sort of stood out to me to say that I am going there and surrounding myself with people of good morals. I will really be able to keep myself focused on my goal to play professional baseball."
With his basketball career over, Bean is left reminiscing on a memorable career.
"The four years have flown by," Bean said. "I could not have scripted it any better. I was able to develop a lot of relationships and hopefully the younger guys can keep the success going.
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