Ohio State women’s basketball became a transfer hotspot in the 2023 offseason. The Buckeyes added names from the ACC, SEC and one from a rival Big Ten school. Up next in a series previewing everyone on the 15-player roster is the Big Ten defector: Forward Taiyier Parks.
The graduate senior has one last season to make an impact, and the former head coach Kevin McGuff recruiting target has a lot to bring to Ohio State before running out of NCAA eligibility.
Name: Taiyier Parks
Class: Graduate Senior
High School: North Royalton High School (Cleveland, Ohio)
2022-23 Stats: 8.3 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 0.5 apg, .575 FG%, .000 3FG%, .560FT%
Michigan State had a difficult 2022-23. The Spartans ended ninth in the Big Ten with a 7-10 conference record, and sat outside of the NCAA Tournament for a second straight season. When Michigan State was winning, it was connected to the success of Parks.
When the Spartans got Parks involved, it usually ended in good things. In six games where Parks scored at least 14 points, Michigan State won; Take the shock upset win Sparty had over the Indiana Hoosiers.
Parks had 18 points, eight steals and two steals in the victory over the then No. 4 team in the country. That was against All-American forward MacKenzie Holmes. That kind of production came with Parks only playing half of the game too, playing off the bench for 20 minutes.
Then-Spartans head coach Suzy Merchant never seemed sold on keeping Parks as a starting option. Last season, Parks made her most starts in a season, 11 in 29 games. Whether it was from the starting lineup or off the bench, Parks made an impact. Those 18 points against Indiana was a career high. On Dec. 5 against the Purdue Boilermakers, Parks tied a career high with four steals.
What to Expect
Parks makes a living working inside the paint. The 6-foot-3 forward won’t be easy for opponents to get around, because not only is Parks strong but she is by no means a statue under the basket. The Cleveland, Ohio native moves stride for stride with opponents hoping for an easy layup.
There’s also rebounding. Last season, the Buckeyes were 12th in the Big Ten with 35.4 rebounds per game, and 10th in allowing rebounds at a 37.6 per game clip. Parks averaged 5.2 rebounds in 18.5 minutes per game, mostly off the bench. That kind of production gives Ohio State’s leading rebounder Taylor Thierry a chance to have a break, or combine them to give opponents less of an opportunity for second chance baskets.
On both sides of the court, Parks will make her impact with her back to the basket. Defensively, its clogging lanes and making shooters think twice about going to the rim, but the strength also shines offensively.
Expect Parks to post up on opponents. The forward can back defenders closer to the basket for turnaround layups or use quick hands to find an open player on the perimeter. Parks will also be a target for teammates.
Last year, forward Cotie McMahon drew extra attention from defenders. This year, the sophomore has Parks to catch and hit easy baskets in the paint when the defense decides to call for help.
The best guess for Parks is a strong role-player coming off the bench early in games. While McGuff focuses and talks about defense more than anything else, starting Parks game in and game out isn’t likely.
That doesn’t mean Parks doesn’t make an impact. With the forward’s ability to close down players attacking the basket with mobility and blocking ability, McGuff has a defensive game changer at his disposal. Especially if Ohio State starts having trouble in games against some of the best bigs in the conference like Illinois’ Kendall Bostic and Nebraska’s Alexis Markowski.
Those moments will just come behind Rebeka Mikulášiková and Eboni Walker.
Earning more minutes is contingent on how Parks adjusts to McGuff’s system after playing for Merchant for the past four years. If knowledge of how the coach wants her to play and conditioning grow, expect Parks to have that much stronger of an impact.
Get an entire NCAA career’s worth of highlights for Parks. Watch the defensive ability and strong paint presence that Ohio State fans can see this season.
Miss a player preview? Here’s who you can read about so far: