Bellarmine guard with life of hard knocks gets great surprise
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A taping of the Coach Scotty Davenport Show at Roosters in Middletown was anything but typical on Monday.
Bellarmine junior Michael Parrish thought he was there to talk about his game.
Parrish, who played at Fern Creek High School, is a walk-on for the Knights. No scholarship means affording Bellarmine is hard. But with student loans and a great attitude, the kid who grew up on the streets of Newburg is playing college ball.
[ALSO: Teen cancer patient suits up for Bellarmine vs. UofL]
On a recent coach's show, he revealed his family life has been tough. Parrish told the coach and viewers his wish for the holidays.
"I would spend Christmas with my dad who's currently in jail right now for some issues," Parrish said, "to have just another Christmas with him."
Despite all he's up against, Parrish comes to practice with a smile on his face and a sense of humor. That's why Bellarmine wanted to do something for him.
Parrish thought he was about to read a question from the live audience when he opened up a folded paper.
Coach Davenport said, "Read the question out loud."
Parrish began: "The question is, you are now a Bellarmine scholarship athlete. You earned it and I am proud of you. Love, Coach Davenport."
After the shock of the surprise, Parrish reached over to hug his coach and thank him.
"I just want to thank you, man to man for giving me this opportunity and sticking with me through all my struggles and never giving up on me," he told Davenport. "I really appreciate it."
Parrish's mother, Deborah Thompson -- a single mom who raised three children -- was in tears at first.
"It' been hard," she said. "I've cried and I've bit my fingernails off and I've worked two or three jobs and I've did just about everything possible to make it happen for him."
The next minute she was overjoyed, cheering and crying over the gift.
"I had no idea, you just don't know," she said. "I am a happy mama and now, I can be happy."
Added Davenport: "He's a very deserving young man. I mean, to see a mother and a young man that's a junior in college react like that, that's why you coach."
"He's been giving me little hints here and there, like, 'Keep pushing Mike, keep pushing, your time is coming,'" Parrish said. "And now I see what he's talking about."
Davenport said Parrish has been putting in the hard work in the classroom, and at just 5-foot-8, he has to work hard on the court. He said he earned the scholarship that opened up this season and next.
The value? About $75,000. Now, he and mom can rest a little easier.
Copyright 2015 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.