Bubba Parham is heading off to his home state — and to the ACC.
The VMI basketball standout has decided to transfer to Georgia Tech. Parham, a sophomore guard who entered the transfer portal on April 16, announced his decision on Twitter late Tuesday night.
Parham is from the Atlanta suburb of Snellville, Georgia. His former high school coach, Daniel Bowles, said Wednesday that there were some family medical issues that made Parham want to transfer.
“When he entered the portal last week, it was nothing more than trying to get closer to home,” said Bowles, the coach of Brookwood High School. “He loves VMI, loves the coaches, loves his teammates. Obviously he’s had a great two years there. It wasn’t something where he was just looking. He’s got some things at home and he wanted to be closer to family.
“When he went in [the portal], we got calls from all over the country, and he was really good about just saying, ‘Hey, look, I’m not interested in a lot of places. I’m either coming to Atlanta or I’m staying at VMI.’
“That really limits your options. … There’s only four or five schools here within an hour of us.”
Bowles said Georgia Tech called Parham after he entered the portal. Parham visited Georgia Tech last weekend while he was home for Easter.
Parham and Bowles also talked with coaches at Georgia State and Georgia.
The 5-foot-11 Parham led the Southern Conference in scoring this year with an average of 21.4 points. He made the All-SoCon second team. Parham tied for second in the league with an average of 3.6 3-pointers. He ranked third in the league in minutes (33.9 mpg) and sixth in steals (3.5 spg).
Moving up to the ACC will be a challenge for Parham, said Bowles.
“It’s going from the known to the unknown,” Bowles said. “You know where you stand at VMI and your role on the team, and now you’re having to go somewhere where you’re going to have to come in and fight like crazy to try to earn some minutes.
“I’m excited for him. You get to be home and play in front of friends and family.”
Parham is the best basketball player to opt to transfer from VMI since Jason Conley, who led Division I in scoring in the 2001-02 season, left the Keydets for Missouri in January 2003.
His loss is a major blow for the Keydets, who went just 11-21 overall and 4-14 in SoCon play this year.
“If his parents lived in Virginia, [transferring] wouldn’t have been something that even crossed his mind,” Bowles said. “He loved playing in the Southern Conference. … And VMI did a great job of scheduling out of conference where he got to play at N.C. State, at Virginia Tech, at Kentucky. So he was still able to play on that bigger stage.”
VMI was the only school to offer Parham a scholarship when he was in high school.
“Fast forward two years later when my phone didn’t stop ringing for about three days [when Parham entered the portal],” Bowles said.
Parham will have to sit out next season under NCAA transfer rules, unless the NCAA grants him a waiver because of the family medical issues. Bowles said he is not sure if Parham and Georgia Tech will seek a waiver.
Parham made a national splash in the Keydets’ 92-82 loss at Kentucky in November. He scored 35 points in that game — the most points any player has scored against the Wildcats in five years.
He drained 10 3-pointers, breaking the VMI single-game record and falling one short of the Rupp Arena record.
It was the first of four straight games in which Parham scored at least 30 points. He became he first SoCon player to have such a stretch since Stephen Curry in the 2008-09 season.
Parham scored at least 30 points in nine games this season. He has already scored more than 1,000 points in his college career.
He was named the SoCon freshman of the year after averaging 14.6 points in the 2017-18 season. He scored 22 points in his college debut at North Carolina State.