Air Force men’s basketball coach Jeff Reynolds praised senior forward/center Grant Parker’s “heart” following the Falcons’ 65-51 loss to TCU on Saturday.
Parker, according to Reynolds, is playing at “about 65 percent” because of the stress reaction in his pelvis that kept him out for 10 games from early December through late January.
Reynolds, whose team fell to 9-13 and 1-8 in Mountain West Conference play with its loss to the Horned Frogs, said Parker “probably wouldn’t be playing” if he was a junior. But he said Parker asked him if he could play, and Reynolds decided to put him back in the lineup after he was cleared by doctors because this is his final season.
“If he had another year, he might not have come to me and said, ‘Hey, coach, I’d like to play,’ ” Reynolds said. “He may have said, ‘Hey, coach, I’m still not ready yet.’ ”
Reynolds said that “nothing comes easy” for Parker, because of the injury, and that Parker “struggles” on defense “because he can’t move.”
“Now, to his credit, he’s given us about all he’s got right now,” Reynolds said. “He has no lift, but he’s playing with some heart.”
Slip, slidin’ away
Air Force hoped to build positive momentum with back-to-back home games to start the second half of MWC play.
But after Saturday’s loss to TCU, the Falcons seem in danger of getting caught in a downward spiral.
Tuesday they play host to vastly-improved Colorado State, which is tied for fourth in the MWC at 5-4. Then they have back-to-back road games at BYU and New Mexico, two of the three teams tied for first place in the league. Air Force lost at home to BYU and New Mexico by 18 and 23 points, respectively, in the first half of the league season.