INDIANAPOLIS — One of the Cinderella stories of the NCAA men's basketball tournament is Oregon State. It's the first time the school has been to the Elite Eight in 39 years and if they win Monday night, it will be their first appearance in the Final Four since 1963.
But before their game on Saturday, the team's play-by-play radio broadcaster said he was jumped while walking along the downtown Indianapolis canal.
During Oregon State's historic run in the tournament, Parker, who's been the team's radio broadcaster for 22 years, has been touring Indianapolis by foot between games, exploring the Circle City's sites and rich hoops history – from Hinkle Fieldhouse, to the downtown canal to Oscar Robertson's alma mater.
"I love to walk in a city," Parker said. "I like learning the history. I think I've walked every inch of the canal while I've been here and I enjoy making discoveries. I just went for a long walk north of here and turned the corner and as I turned the corner, there it was and I thought 'Oh my gosh - Oscar Robertson's high school!' And I love the steam clock here on the canal too. It's one of the many sites in the city and the downtown core area that I've fallen in love with while I've been here."
He said it's been a memorable experience as a first-time visitor to Indiana, minus one particular encounter.
Before Saturday's game, Parker got attacked along the downtown canal.
"It was an odd encounter. It was bizarre. I was walking along with this bag on because sometimes I want to sit down and do some work or take some notes, so I keep the bag with me on a lot of these walks," Parker explained. "A man, a kind of young troubled soul came up to me and said, 'what are you doing here and what's in your bag?', so I knew I was dealing with somebody that wasn't quite in the right frame of mind. Then at one point, then he pressed me and said 'do you have a bomb in that bag?' And I said 'no, no sir I don't. I have my work stuff and I'm on my way to work' and I kept walking. Moments later I just felt myself being taken down to the ground over there on the sidewalk about a foot from rolling into the canal and I'm grateful that didn't happen."
Parker said witnesses yelled for help, yelled for the man to get off of him. That's when police nearby on bicycle patrol intervened.
"They took my statement. I had a rip in my shirt, a little bit of a cut on my elbow. But I had a game to get to, to broadcast for the Beavers, so I didn't really have a lot of time and I told the officers thank you for being here," parker said. "Later I called the game and the Beavers won and all pain was gone! I felt great."
Parker said he didn't file a police report and didn't want to press charges. He said he got first aid at Bankers Life Fieldhouse because his elbow was still bleeding when he arrived for the game.
IMPD tells 13News this is the only incident of violence along the canal during the NCAA Tournament.
Parker says the attack didn't damage his impression of Indiana. He hopes to continue exploring the area, if the Beavers' tournament run continues into the next round.
"It hasn't affected my love and appreciation of this area, of the city, of Hoosier hospitality, it's been tremendous -- save for that one little moment and all the other moments combined far outweigh that," Parker said. "I have another game to call. If the Beavers win, I don't know if I'll ever hurt again if we go to the Final Four. Plus, I've had just a wonderful time and I hope I get another week in this great city and I'm looking forward to a lot more walks around here if possible."