Five Qs with No. 25 – Rockets F Chandler Parsons

By Adam Silverstein
January 18, 2012

Less than a quarter of the way through the lockout-shortened 2011-12 NBA season, Houston Rockets rookie forward Chandler Parsons is already making a name for himself. Though his team currently sports a 7-7 record and is two games behind Southwest Division leader San Antonio, Houston is on a 5-2 winning stretch ever since head coach Kevin McHale promoted Parsons to the starting lineup on Jan. 7.

Parsons is averaging 9.3 points, 6.7 boards, 2.4 assists, 1.9 steals and 0.9 blocks per game as a starter, shooting 45.9 percent from the field in 29.6 minutes of action. OGGOA caught up with Parsons Wednesday on a rare non-game day to discuss his early success in the league and how he hopes to improve as the season goes on.

ADAM SILVERSTEIN: Obviously you’ve had a real solid start to your rookie season. What has the fan reaction in Houston been like and how does it all feel?
CHANDLER PARSONS: “It’s an unbelievable feeling and a great opportunity. The fans have been tremendous just with their support and all of the love they have given me on Facebook. The people have been unbelievable. It’s really a blessing to be able to come out here and play and be able to help my team so early on in my career.”

AS: Even back at Florida you always had a knack for following up your teammates’ shots and either grabbing the rebound or putting the ball back in the hoop with a dunk. I know you worked on this even more over the summer in California with Don MacLean. Can you talk about some of his teachings and how working with him has helped you?
CP: “Basically every drill that you do with Don MacLean, he always emphasizes finishing strong and finishing at the rim. When I first went in there, I would do layups or floaters and he wouldn’t let me do that anymore. He would make me dunk everything. It just gave me the aggressive mindset to attack the rim. I knew coming into the league that it would be physical; everyone is faster and everyone is stronger. I just want to go to the hoop aggressively every time I attack and not settle for anything weak. It’s a physical league so being able to play the last couple of weeks and these first games, [you can tell] it’s just very physical. There’s nothing easy, so when you go to the rim you’ve got to go strong.”

AS: Gators head coach Billy Donovan last week said that he was especially proud of how well you’ve been playing at the start of your rookie season. How did your last two years at Florida, and perhaps more specifically Donovan’s coaching, help prepare you to play in the NBA and perform at this level?
CP: “He has helped me unbelievably. I give a lot of credit to Coach Donovan because everything that my coaching staff at the Rockets wants and emphasizes, I’ve already heard and seen form Coach Donovan. He taught me how to work and what goes into winning. Coming into the league, I didn’t get hit blindly by anything because he prepared me so well for the NBA. Everything that’s been thrown at me I’ve been prepared for and that has a lot to do with our entire coaching staff at Florida.”


AS: With the lockout-shortened season, teams are being forced to play a ton of back-to-back games and even back-to-back-to-back stretches. What has that been like for the players and you in particular, having to play so many games in a short period of time at such a different level in your first season in the league?
CP: “It’s definitely a grind. It’s absolutely exhausting. You can’t really make excuses because every other team is going just the same thing. It almost reminds me of AAU in some ways because you’re playing so many games back-to-back-to-back. It’s a lot of preparation in a short amount of time, so you have to focus more on everything like the scouting and preparation game-to-game. If you play good or you play bad, when you wake up the next morning you have to deal with it and move on to another [game]. I went from Kevin Durant to Tayshaun Prince to Ben Gordon…every night I’m going against the best in the world, so you have to get over what happened quickly and be able to balance everything because it definitely flashes by and it’s exhausting.”

AS: I know the season is still young and you have only played 14 games but have you already had a “moment” in the league that made you sit back and take in the fact that you’re playing in the NBA?
CP: “Every night is just kind of surreal going out there because I’m a normal kid. I’m an NBA fan. I’ve been watching them play for my whole life. To be able to be out there on the same floor as them and competing against them is just incredible. Going to the Staples Center and playing against the Lakers and Kobe Bryant was cool. It’s unbelievable that a couple months ago I was doing it in Europe, and then a little bit before that I was doing it at Florida, and then before that I was doing that at Lake Howell [High School]. It’s a process that has been unbelievable to go through and now I’m finally at the top. It’s taken extremely hard work but I’m just trying to take advantage of every opportunity I get.”

NOTES

– Parsons said he was happy to spend some time with Detroit F Vernon Macklin on Monday. Detroit and Houston played each other on Tuesday but the former teammates got to hang out the night before.
– Though he would love to do the Gator Chomp one day after a big play or dunk, Parsons is not so sure his coaching staff would be too thrilled with the idea.
– As ESPN‘s SportsCenter said Tuesday, Parsons is becoming a “Top Play fixture.” His put-back slam featured at the top of the post was No. 2 on the countdown.

3 Comments

  1. Gary says:

    I’m missing Chandler on this years Gator team. We could use a decent point guard right about now.

  2. DGlockUF says:

    Great article, Adam. Really good to see Chandler being successful this early in the NBA season. GO GATORS!!!

  3. SC Gator says:

    Interesting point…

    “When I first went in there, I would do layups or floaters and he wouldn’t let me do that anymore. He would make me dunk everything. ”

    That’s actually one of my pet peeves, big guys that obviously can dunk it who try not to. Yes you can miss a dunk but you are far more likely to miss a layup or a floater.

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