LAKELAND, Fla. — Don’t let the size or age of Anyla “A.P.” Parker fool you.
“I first started playing as soon as I could walk,” Parker said.
At 11-years-old, the fifth-grader is the starting point guard for the girl’s varsity basketball team at Excel Christian Academy.
“Sometimes I am a little nervous playing against them because they are huge, fast and strong,” Parker told ABC Action News sports anchor Kyle Burger. “But I just rise above the emotion and that’s what courage is really.”
She also plays against boys on her AAU team.
“The boys are amazed, ‘I didn’t know she could ball.’”
Parker is pretty clear about what she wants to achieve over the years and she is taking aim at some big dreams.
“The biggest dream is to dunk in sixth grade. That’s one of them. The biggest one is to be in the NBA and WNBA,” she said. “I feel like we should be equal in basketball. We should be getting paid the same amount, treated the same way.”
Earlier this season, she set the school record by scoring 31 points in a game. Her slick on-court dribbling skills have made her must-see viewing on social media.
“Her crossovers,” teammate Soraya Sobres said. “When she gets the ball in her hands and crosses somebody over that’s probably my ‘wow’ moment.”
“I have never seen a kid like her in-person play with the skill level for her age,” Excel head coach Ty Hodges said. “She’s a little big for her age so physically she can handle it. The maturity on the court, how she talks to her teammates, you could see she was special.”
Parker is the daughter of two basketball players, her mom Nadine Serrano is also her assistant coach.
“Ever since she was young, me and her mom both put a basketball in her hands,” her father Tony Parker said. “We train all the time. It’s natural. That’s what we do.”
“My parents bought me a basketball hoop for my first birthday,” Parker said. “As soon as I opened it, I grabbed the ball dunked it.”