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He’s got (video) game

MANLIUS — Parker Neuhalfen is very modest when it comes to his stats on the basketball court. And he’s got some good ones to talk about as the leading scorer in the area and team leader in assists.

But when it comes to bragging rights for being the king of video games around the Bureau Valley camp, he’s quick to point his fingers at himself.

“It’s me,” he said with a big smile.

He’s not sure if his video game prowess in 2K14 or Call of Duty helps him on the basketball court at all, but he said he’s got better playing them the more he understands them.

Neuhalfen has been recognized as an unanimous first team all-conference selection in the Three Rivers South.

He received AP All-State honorable mention and was named to the Illinois Basketball Coaches Third Team All-State.

And now he is the 2014 Co-BCR Player of the Year, the first Storm player to receive the honor outright since current BV assistant coach Preston Jones won in 2005.

BV coach Jason Marquis said Neuhalfen’s overall game and humble approach is what makes him such a special talent.

“Parker is such an awesome kid. So unselfish, such great leadership and yet as humble of a kid as you will find,” Marquis said. “His stats don’t do justice...because he isn’t selfish, and he truly doesn’t care about his stats.”

Neuhalfen is all about winning games and takes the do what ever it takes approach to get there.

“I score when I feel like I have to, and I distribute when I have to. I kind of do whatever role I need to that night,” he said. “If Tommy (Johnston) is scoring a bunch of points or if somebody else is scoring a bunch of points, I’m going to feed them the ball. Whatever, the best match-up is.”

When asked to talk if he was happy how his season went individually, Neuhalfen turned his attention back to the team.

“I was pretty happy. We had a 20-win season which hadn’t been done for awhile,” he said.

Neuhalfen feels blessed to have a teammate of Johnston’s talent along side him to take some pressure off himself. Neuhalfen praised his teammates for stepping up and playing so well at regional when Johnston went down with an injury.

The Storm guard has always been a scorer, pumping in an area-high 601 points for an 18.1 ppg average this season. He now stands second only in all-time scoring at BV behind two-time BCR Player of the Year Reuben Slock with 1,499 career points.

Neuhalfen credits coach Marquis for improving his defensive game going into his sophomore season.

“He definitely instilled defense in my mind,” he said.

He’s played basketball and other sports for as long as he can remember.

“My mom claims that I shot baskets in the crib, but I don’t know if that’s true or not. From a very young age, I always had a ball in my hands,” he said.

A quarterback for the Storm’s football team, Neuhalfen finds some similarities with playing point guard in basketball.

“Passing definitely and distributing. You have to make good decisions on where to put the ball,” he said

Neuhalfen, who definitely wants to play basketball in college, and maybe football, too, will soon be starting up his second season of AAU ball. He played out of the Quad Cities and will suit up for the Sauk Valley Magic out of Sterling. Those experiences have improved his overall game, he said.

“It’s definitely an eye opener to see all the talent out there. It’s made me work harder,” he said.

Returning many top players from this year’s regional finalists, Neuhalfen is hopeful the Storm will make a deeper run in the postseason next year.

And he’ll do whatever it takes to get them there.

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