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Candace Nicole Parker (born April 19, 1986 in ) is an All-American basketball player for the WNBA's Los Angeles Sparks and is also the younger sister of NBA player Anthony Parker. She was drafted to the team from Tennessee in 2008. She may be best known for being the first woman to dunk in an NCAA tournament game and the first woman to dunk twice in a college game —she set both milestones as a redshirt freshman on March 19, 2006. She also became only the second player to dunk in a WNBA game on June 22, 2008.

A versatile player, she is mainly a forward, but was listed on Tennessee's roster as a forward, center, and guard. She was a starter on the Lady Vols basketball team, winners of the 2007 and 2008 NCAA championships.

Candace won the 2009 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice award as the favorite female athlete in the sports category.

Playing career

High School

Like older brother Anthony Parker, who is currently playing guard for the Cleveland Cavaliers, she attended Naperville Central High Schoolmarker in Naperville, Illinoismarker; she graduated in 2004. While in high school, Parker led her basketball team to state titles in 2003 and 2004 and amassed numerous accolades.

She is the only two-time award winner of the USA Today Player of the Year, winning the award in 2003 and 2004. Parker won the Naismith and Gatorade Awards as national basketball player of the year during her upper high school years. She won the Gatorade award again in her senior year to join only Marion Jones and LeBron James as the only back to back winners. Parker was named a WBCA All-American. She participated in the 2004 WBCA High School All-America Game, where she scored nine points.

She was a consensus pick as player of the year in Illinoismarker in 2002, 2003, and 2004. A four-year member of the All-State first team, Parker compiled a school-record 2,768 points (22.9 points per game) and 1,592 rebounds (13.2 rebounds per game), while starting 119 of the 121 games in which she played. She also became the first women's player to announce her NCAA women's basketball verbal commitment live on ESPNEWS.

The summer after her junior year in high school, Parker tore her ACL in her left knee in a summer league game. She returned in December of her senior year and went on to lead her school to its second consecutive state title.

In August 2004, the "CP-3"s, Team USA roommates Candace Parker and Courtney Paris, led the undefeated USA Junior World Championship team to a Gold medal with 16.6 ppg, 8.8 rpg and 15.8 ppg, 9.0 rpg respectively. While training, Parker had a relapse of knee pain and was required to undergo surgery in her lateral meniscus and the lateral articular cartilage in her left knee.

College Years

Parker attended the University of Tennesseemarker. She took a medical redshirt her freshman year of college, and started for the Tennessee Lady Vols during the 2005-06 season. She was the Southeastern Conference Rookie of the Year (Coaches and AP) and helped the Lady Vols win the 2006 SEC Tournament Championship. With 17 seconds remaining in the 2006 SEC Tournament Championship Game against LSU, Parker hit the game-winning shot. She was named Tournament MVP and was named to the 2006 Kodak All-America team, making her one of the few to ever receive the award as a freshman. However, in the NCAA Tournament regional finals against North Carolinamarker, Parker got in early foul trouble and was out of the game for much of the first half. The University of North Carolina ultimately won the game.

Parker was the only college player named to the USA squad for the 2006 FIBA World Championship for Women in Brazilmarker. The USA squad finished in third place.

On January 28, 2007, in an away game against Alabama, Parker scored her 1,000th career point as a sophomore making her the fastest player in Lady Vol history to do so. She did it in 56 games, besting Chamique Holdsclaw's mark of 57 games and Tamika Catchings's of 58 games. On March 1, at the SEC tournament in Duluth, Georgia, Parker was named the 2007 SEC Player of the Year. On April 3, she led the Lady Vols to their first National Championship victory since 1998, beating Rutgers 59-46; Parker finished the game with 17 points and earned the tournament's Most Outstanding Player honor.

Parker announced on February 21, 2008 that she would forego her final season of eligibility at Tennessee in order to focus on the 2008 Olympics and pursue a professional career. She graduated with her incoming class in May 2008. A sports management major who had a 3.35 grade point average as of December 2007, she was named University Division Academic All-American of the Year in women's basketball for 2008 by the College Sports Information Directors of America.

On April 8, 2008, Parker led the Lady Vols to their second straight NCAA women's title, the eighth championship for Tennessee. She was also named the MVP for the second consecutive tournament, joining Cheryl Miller, Chamique Holdsclaw and Diana Taurasi as the only female players to have done so. She won the honor despite suffering a dislocated shoulder during her team's regional finals win, but returned (wearing a white long-sleeve T-shirt under her jersey) and led the Lady Vols to the title. While at Tennessee, she complied a record of 101 wins and 10 losses.

WNBA

Just after the NCAA victory, Parker was selected as the first pick in the 2008 WNBA Draft by the Los Angeles Sparks. She currently plays alongside Olympic teammates Lisa Leslie, Tina Thompson and Delisha Milton-Jones. Shannon Bobbitt (Parker's teammate at Tennessee) joined the Sparks after being drafted in the second round.

On May 17, 2008, in her debut game against the Phoenix Mercury, she recorded 34 points, 12 rebounds and 8 assists. Her 34 points broke the record for a rookie in a debut game. The record was previously held by Cynthia Cooper, who scored 25 points in her debut game in 1997.

On June 22, 2008, she became the second woman in WNBA history-after her teammate Lisa Leslie-to dunk during a regulation WNBA game against the Indiana Fever and Michelle Snow in the 2006 WNBA All-Star game. The dunk was on the same basket as the dunk of her teammate.

Parker was named the Hanns-G 'Go Beyond' Rookie of the Month for the month of May 2008. She received the same honor for July 2008.

On October 3, 2008, she was named the Hanns-G 'Go Beyond' Rookie of the Year as well as Most Valuable Player for the 2008 WNBA season. She became the first WNBA player to win both the Rookie of the Year and the Most Valuable Player in the same season. In addition, she also joined Wilt Chamberlain and Wes Unseld as the only professional American basketball players to win both ROY and MVP trophies in the same season.

Candace Parker has missed the 2009 WNBA season so far after having her baby girl Lailaa, but on June 30 Candace returned to practice with her teamates for the first time.. She played her first game back from maternity leave on July 5, 2009. Candace earned 2nd Team All-WNBA honors despite missing almost a full month. She led the Sparks to the Western Conference Finals but lost in 3 games to the Phoenix Mercury. In the playoffs Parker averaged 18 points and over 10 rebounds per game.

Parker was invited to the USA Basketball Women's National Team training camp in the fall of 2009. The team selected to play for the 2010 FIBA World Championship and the 2012 Olympics is usually chosen from these participants. At the conclusion of the training camp, the team will travel to Ekaterinburg, Russia, where they compete in the 2009 UMMC Ekaterinburg International Invitational.

The Brawl

On July 22, 2008 Candace was involved in a fight during a game against the Detroit Shock. With 4.2 seconds before the game was officially over, the fighting began on the court after Plenette Pierson made a hard block out after a free throw on Candace Parker; the two players became entangled and fell. As Parker was down, Pierson stormed over to Parker and aggressively walked over the top of her; in response, Parker pulled Pierson to the court. Parker threw a punch at Pierson before being tackled by Deanna Nolan as players and coaches from both teams joined in. Coach Rick Mahorn came off the bench — as a peacemaker — but the 6-10, 300-plus pounder incited more violence when he inadvertently knocked Los Angeles forward Lisa Leslie to the floor. Leslie's teammate, DeLisha Milton-Jones, then came to her rescue by punching a stunned Mahorn in the shoulder.[3] In response, Mahorn was hit by Sparks players Milton-Jones, Murriel Page and Shannon Bobbitt. Pierson, Parker, Milton-Jones, and Mahorn were all ejected. The altercation also resulted in a season-ending ACL injury to Cheryl Ford, who was trying to restrain her teammate. This was the second brawl to occur at The Palace, the other being the Pacers–Pistons brawl.

Personal life

On November 13, 2008, Candace Parker married her fiancee, Shelden Williams, who was a college basketball star for Duke University, when he played for the Minnesota Timberwolves of the NBA. He currently plays for the Boston Celtics.The couple welcomed a baby girl named Lailaa Nicole Williams at 11:29 AM on Wednesday, May 13th, 2009. Lailaa was born weighing 7 pounds, 6 ounces and was 20 inches long.

The 6’4 and 175 lbs Candace Parker grew up in Chicago adoring the Bulls and was a huge Michael Jordan fan, whom she is frequently compared to. But her all time favorite player is Ron Harper whom she has a picture with hanging in her bedroom. She has two dogs. One is a St. Bernard mix named Fendi and the other one is a pug named Nino, who is named after a character in the movie “New Jack City.” Parker’s favorite movies are “Love and Basketball” and “He Got Game.” She also likes to listen to Disney sound tracks such as the “Little Mermaid” and watch “Full House” and the “Cosby Show.” Wojciechowski, Gene. Parker: First-rate game and a first-rate life. 5 December 2007. /sports.espn.go.com/espn/columns/story?columnist=wojciechowski_gene&id=3141784>.

Parker was named Academic All-American 2007–08 by the ESPN the magazine because of her ability to balance schoolwork and sports and be successful in both of them. She had a 3.55 GPA when she won this award. UT Reports. Candace Parker Academic All-America of Year. 27 February 2008. /tennessee.scout.com/2/732487.html>.

Records

  • 1st WNBA player to win WNBA MVP and WNBA Rookie of the Year Award in the same season.
  • 1st WNBA player to dunk in consecutive games
  • Most points scored (34) by a rookie in her debut.


Awards

High School

  • All-Area Team (2001-2004: Chicago Sun Times, News-Gazette and Chicago Tribune)
  • All-State Team (2001-2004: AP, Chicago Sun Times, News-Gazette and Chicago Tribune, IBCA)
  • Gatorade Illinois State Player of the Year (2002-2004)
  • Illinois Miss Basketball (2002-2004)
  • Illinois State Player of the Year (2002-2004: Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun Times, Daily Herald, Naperville Sun and News-Gazette)
  • First Team All-American (2002-2004: Nike, 2000-2004: Parade, Street & Smith's, USA Today, 2004: McDonald's)
  • Second Team All-American (2002: Parade, Student Sports)
  • Third Team All-American (2002: USA Today)
  • Fourth Team All-American (2002: Street & Smith's)
  • Naismith Prep Player of the Year (2003-2004)
  • USA Today High School Player of the Year (2003-2004)
  • 2004 Powerade Jam Fest Winner
  • Gatorade High School Player of the Year (2003-2004)
  • 2004 Women's Sports Foundation High School Athlete of the Year


College

  • 2006 NCAA Cleveland Regional All-Region Team
  • 2006 SEC Tournament MVP
  • 2006 SEC Freshman of the Year
  • 2006 All-SEC First Team
  • 2006 All-SEC Freshman Team
  • 2006 SEC Freshman of the Week (12/5, 12/19, 1/10, 1/16)
  • 2006 SEC Player of the Week (1/16)
  • 2006 Lady Vol Athlete of the Week (11/28, 1/16)
  • 2006 Lady Vol Athlete of the Month (January)
  • 2006 AP Second Team All-American
  • 2006 Kodak All-American
  • 2007 SEC Player of the Week (2/12, 3/1)
  • 2007 SEC Player of the Year
  • 2007 First Team All-SEC
  • 2007 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Tournament - Dayton Regional Most Outstanding Player.
  • 2007 1st Team All-American (AP, Kodak, John R. Wooden)
  • 2007 Wade Trophy Winner
  • 2007 USBWA Player of the Year
  • 2007 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament Most Outstanding Player


  • 2007 John R. Wooden Award Winner
  • 2007 Basketball Honda Sports Award Winner
  • 2008 Academic All-America of the Year, University Division
  • 2008 Associated Press Player of the Year
  • 2008 Naismith Trophy Winner
  • 2008 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament Most Outstanding Player
  • 2008 John R. Wooden Award winner
  • 2008 Basketball Honda Sports Award Winner
  • 2008 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament - Oklahoma City Region Most Outstanding Player
  • 2008 ESPN.com Player of the Year
  • 2007–08 Honda-Broderick Cup winner
  • 2007-08 SEC Female Athlete of the Year
  • 2008 Kodak All-American
  • 2008 SEC Tournament MVP
  • 2008 SEC Tournament First Team
  • 2008 All-SEC First Team
  • 2008 BET Female Athlete of the Year
  • 2008 Best Female College Athlete ESPY Award winner
  • 2008 Best Female Athlete ESPY Award winner


WNBA



WNBA career statistics

Regular season

2008
Los Angeles
33 33 33.6 .523 .423 .733 9.5 3.4 1.3 2.3 18.5
2009
Los Angeles
25 24 32.6 .485 .208 .763 9.8 2.6 0.6 2.1 13.1
Career
58 57 33.2 .508 .320 .742 9.6 3.1 1.0 2.2 16.2

Playoffs

2008
Los Angeles
6 6 36.5 .459 .000 .759 9.8 3.8 1.5 2.2 15.0
2009
Los Angeles
6 6 35.2 .535 .250 .705 10.7 1.7 0.8 1.8 18.0
Career
12 12 35.8 .497 .091 .726 10.3 2.8 1.2 2.0 16.5

See also



Notes

  1. Offseason 2008-09: Overseas Roster
  2. Candace Parker gets WNBA's second dunk in Sparks' 77–63 victory - Los Angeles Times
  3. http://sports.espn.go.com/wnba/news/story?id=3623772
  4. Parker Returns To Practice
  5. utladyvols.com
  6. Parker Named AP Female Athlete of the Year December 23, 2008


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