College basketball player drowns in Indiana reservoir
CICERO, Ind. (AP) A University of Indianapolis basketball player drowned after he fell into an Indiana reservoir without a lifejacket, investigators said Friday.
A dive team found the body of 22-year-old senior Dai-Jon Parker around 6 p.m. Thursday at the bottom of Morse Reservoir, north of Indianapolis, according to Sgt. Blaine R. Gillan of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. The agency confirmed Parker’s identity on Friday.
Witnesses who were with Parker told investigators that he and another man were being pulled on an inner tube behind a pontoon boat when Parker fell off after hitting a large wave. The witnesses said they didn’t see him resurface.
”The entire University of Indianapolis community mourns the loss of Dai-Jon Parker, a senior student-athlete with a vibrant personality who had a great future ahead,” the school said in a statement issued Friday. ”This is a tragic situation for everyone involved.”
The incident occurred just after 3:30 p.m. Thursday. Rescue crews who combed the reservoir for more than two hours located Parker’s body with a sonar device under about 11 feet under water.
Investigators said they are looking into whether alcohol was a factor in the accident. No charges have been filed.
Parker, of Lawrenceville, Georgia, spent three seasons at Vanderbilt before transferring to Indianapolis. He started all 31 games for the Greyhounds last season, averaging 9.4 points and 2.6 rebounds. He led the team with 56 steals and was fourth in assists (75), helping Indianapolis reach Division II’s Sweet 16 for the first time in school history. The Greyhounds also were ranked No. 1 for two weeks.
During his three seasons at Vanderbilt, Parker played in 92 games and emerged as one of the school’s top perimeter defenders. In 2013-14, he had 26 starts and averaged 8.3 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.2 assists. He scored in double figures 10 times, including a career-high 25 against Ole Miss.
Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings, a former Purdue player and assistant coach, said in a statement that the school was saddened by Parker’s death.
”Everyone who watched him play basketball knew what kind of athlete he was,” Stallings said. ”But to those of us who knew him and loved him, he was as good and happy of a person as you would ever meet. He always had a smile on his face and I will always remember him for that smile and the positive spirit he had.”