Chandler Parsons – Path to the 2011 NBA Draft: Working out and crossing the finish line

Through the 2011 NBA Draft, Florida Gators forward and 2011 Southeastern Conference Player of the Year Chandler Parsons will be keeping fans up-to-date on his Path to the Draft via a weekly blog entry exclusively here at OGGOA.

Jet-setting across the country working out for more than half the teams in the league, Parsons got in touch with us Wednesday after finally returning to Orlando, FL following a whirlwind tour of the United States. As he patiently waits to learn where he will be playing professional basketball in the future, Parsons is (finally) relaxing with friends, hanging out with family and getting himself prepared for the big day.

With his Path to the Draft set to conclude Thursday, Parsons will check in with one more blog entry to discuss the team that selects him and how he feels about finally reaching his lifelong dream of playing in the NBA.

We last spoke with Parsons the day before he worked out for the Denver Nuggets.

Denver was a great workout for me. That was one of the best workouts for me; I competed very hard and won a lot of the games. I feel like my pre-draft conditioning in Los Angeles and Chicago really paid off there because the altitude there. It was so hard to workout there and catch your breath. I felt like I was in really good shape and a lot of the other guys were tired. I felt like that was an advantage for me because I was able to pull through and keep playing through fatigue.

I’ve been playing a lot with Jordan Hamilton [of Texas], and he’s listed as one of the best small forwards in the draft. Every time I get a chance to go up against one of these guys with hype, it’s exciting for me. I got something to prove every time I do it.

I immediately went to the Golden State Warriors on a back-to-back. After a three-hour flight to Oakland, I had a workout with the Warriors which actually went really well, too. These last four workouts have probably been me playing the best. It is probably because there are no nerves now; I’m used to it. Golden State was also a really good workout.

[Clay Thompson of Washington State] was really good. He’s 6’7” and he’s got great size for a shooting guard. And he literally has one of the best shots I have ever seen. He’s got height, so his shot doesn’t get blocked and he gets it off very quickly. I was impressed with him.

Golden State was really cool because Mark Jackson was there, and he just got the [head coaching] job there. He had some really encouraging words for me after the workout. He said he thought I was going to be really good in this league and play immediately because of my skill set and my understanding of how to play with guys. That was really positive and really exciting.

After the Warriors workout, I thought that I had only one more workout with the Boston Celtics. After that workout, I went to the airport and my flight was at 9 p.m. I was taking a red-eye to Logan Airport in Boston. It ended up getting delayed like four hours until 2:10 a.m. and it finally departed, but I didn’t get into Boston until 11 a.m.

I had two days off in Boston and met up with Jeff Goodman, the college basketball writer with CBS. He lives in Boston, so he picked me up and took me to dinner. I was able to relax and get off my feet. I went to the arena and got some shots up with one of their managers the night before. Boston was a really cool town. I got to see Fenway [Park] and just being able to workout in their facility with all the tradition they have there was unbelievable. You see so many banners; it was just unbelievable.

That’s when I found out – on those two off-days in Boston – is when I heard that the Milwaukee Bucks really wanted to get me in on a last-minute thing and that it would be a really strong workout. So I knew going into the Boston workout that I had at least one more on a back-to-back with the Bucks.

In Boston I went against Kyle Singler again from Duke. Did a little bit of everything – posted up, turned around and hits shots. I played really well in that workout and got really positive feedback from [president] Danny Ainge and [head coach] Doc Rivers.

Teams put you in a situation and they want to see how you react to it. And when they see me in a pick-and-roll and a guard switches on me, it shows them a lot the fact that I will duck them in, post up and finish around the rim. That’s something that I’ve really been doing well – when I have a smaller guy on me, taking them to the block and posting them up – versus having a bigger, slower guy on me, I take them off the dribble and use my quickness. I’ve just been trying to show everything.

I immediately went to Milwaukee and worked out with the Bucks last night – that was a monster workout. It was basically all guys that are set to be first-round and had great college years. It was a great opportunity to go up against them and leave a lasting impression. At one point in the workout, their assistant coach said, “Keep going, you’re the best player in the workout right now.” So that was encouraging. Most importantly, these guys just want to see how hard you play and if you can win the drills.

Of course my flight gets delayed until 12:30 a.m. again [Tuesday]. Actually I was on the runway for two hours, and they have a rule where they had to take us off back into the gate and then re-board us 30 minutes to an hour later. After that point, it was kind of a relieving feeling. Looking back on it, I just worked out for 16 NBA teams. I met incredible people, worked out against the best players in the country, and it’s finally over.

I talked to my agent [Mark Bartelstein], and there’s basically nothing left I could have done. I did everything he asked me to do. I put myself in a great situation to get drafted where I want to get drafted. Now it’s up to [my agent and the teams]. I’m sure they’re going to be on the phone making hundreds of calls these next two days. It’s almost scary because now it’s completely out of my hands; there’s nothing I can do. I’m in Orlando with my family, so I’m probably just going to play golf and just continue to workout. There’s really nothing I can do but enjoy it. I understand that I’ve done it all, left it all out there, and now it’s up to the GMs and the teams.

I feel 100 percent great, and I feel confident. If people were looking at me before this process started as a NBA player, I’ve done every single thing in my power to back-up everything they heard in these workouts. I really 100 percent feel confident about that – that I played very well. I didn’t have a bad workout. I worked hard every single workout and did everything they asked me to do. I was never late, never missed a flight, did everything correctly. I believe I put myself in a great position and really helped myself out throughout the process. All I need is one team to fall in love with me and like me. Whatever team does that is going to get a great player who is going to work hard and contribute right away.

I actually should be exhausted, honestly. My flight got delayed and I got in [Wednesday morning] at 2 a.m., didn’t go to sleep until 4 a.m., but I had to wake up this morning early to get a haircut. I was planning on sleeping in. I got a big-time barber; he’s got a tight schedule. I’ve been going to Dennis at Dolce Vida [in downtown Orlando] since high school.

I’ve had a best friend since I was like 12 years old, my boy Pausha, and I’ve been kicking it with him. My family is here, and there will be about 15-20 people at my house Thursday including my AAU coach, Pausha, a couple of my other friends from Florida, my three older brothers and my parents. I’m just going to do a little gathering and not do any media or anything and just do a private thing. The people who have been with me since day one are going to be the only people there. It’s going to be exciting. If it goes as well as planned, the night is definitely not going to stop after the draft. It’s just going to be a great night that we’ve been waiting on for a long time. It’s a really exciting time for me and my family, and I’m hyped for it.

I’ve heard the [post-draft] process is different for every team. Golden State brings in the guys Monday for a press conference, but I’ve heard some teams will bring you in the next day. Whatever team drafts me, I’ll be communicating with them for my plans over the next week and then my plans if this lockout happens.

OGGOA FAN QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK

Q: Is this draft workout process the most difficult thing you’ve done in your entire basketball career up to this point? – Nina S.
PARSONS: “It’s hard but this is the situation you want to be in. Yeah, it’s exhausting and grueling, but millions of other kids in the world would die to be in my position right now. I wouldn’t say it was the hardest thing for me to do – that probably would have been adjusting from high school basketball to college basketball. The speed of the game, the strength, the conditioning and everything like that. This is fun. This is a dream come true. I’m going out and working out in front of Michael Jordan, Mike D’Antoni and Donnie Walsh. This is something not a lot of people have. Yeah, this was tough, but it is an honor to be in this situation.”

Q: After going through the pre-draft process, is there anything you would have changed about how you played at Florida or do you think you were perfectly prepared for this next step? – Jesse H.
PARSONS: “I think my entire life – I wouldn’t change a thing. I stayed in college for four years and did everything I could. We went through a lot of losses but also a lot of wins. We’ve had some good times and some bad times, and being with Coach [Billy] Donovan for four years made me the player I am today. He taught me what it takes to win, that you can’t take a day off, and he helped me with my maturity. Me growing off the court has helped me grow on the court, just understanding everyday things. I was a late bloomer. Nobody would give me the time of day; nobody wanted me on their AAU team. I was fortunate enough to play on a great high school team with great players. I got a scholarship to Florida – a school I always wanted to go to. I don’t regret anything. I got the school’s first SEC Player of the Year [in basketball] and helped Coach get his first SEC Coach of the Year. We did some special things, and I feel like I’ve overcome a lot of things in my life to be in the situation that I’m in now. And I wouldn’t change any of it.”

Go Gators,

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Austin Rivers – finally – drops Florida from list

Just over five months after decommitting from the Florida Gators, the team which he promised to play for as a freshman in high school, five-star 2011 guard Austin Rivers (Winter Park, FL) has completely dropped them from his recruitment list.

At the time of his decommitment, Rivers called attending Florida “still a very possible option for me,” noting that he made the decision in order to open his eyes to other choices. When Rivers made it clear a day later that he wanted to go to a “program where it’s the big stage,” explaining that he committed to the Gators “right after they won two national championships when they were prime time,” it became obvious his eyes had wandered elsewhere.

Especially considering, just six months earlier, Rivers was not even wavering in his commitment, at least according to his father and Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers. “[Florida is] where he wants to go. He’s going to Florida,” Doc said at the time. “There’s no doubt about that. He’s committed there. He’s a Florida kid.’’

From the get go, word was that Rivers had fallen in love with the Duke Blue Devils. This became apparent a month after his decommitment, when he raved about Duke’s ability to develop players, calling the Blue Devils “the lead school for me right now.”

In a conversation with Scout.com on Wednesday, Rivers officially ruled Florida out. “I have my three schools: It’s Kansas, North Carolina and Duke,” he said. “I’m planning to visit all three of them. Some of them I’ll go alone and some I’ll go with my family. […] Basically those are the three schools that I really like. I like their style of play, their success and that they win and they get guys to the next level.”

Photo Credit: ESPN Rise

Tags: , , ,

FOUR BITS: Tebow & McDaniels, Stamper, Patriots

1 » Apparently the already close relationship between former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow and his new head coach, Josh McDaniels of the Denver Broncos, was like an old-fashioned story – love at first sight. The Denver Post reports that occurrence took place at the 2010 NFL Scouting Combine when the two met in a private room along with other Broncos’ staffers. “I was jacked leaving that room. I didn’t even want to visit another room. It was not enough time,” Tebow said. “We were excited, we were enthusiastic. There was passion. It was just intense, and it was ball, and it was juice. The juice level in that room was high, and it was awesome.”

2 » Two bulging discs in his back prevented former Gators linebacker Ryan Stamper from showing teams what he was made of prior to the 2010 NFL Draft – even though there was plenty of interest. What his injury did not faze was the Detroit Lions’ interest in signing him to an undrafted free agent contract. “It was frustrating to sit back while everybody else was working out,” Stamper told the Orlando Sentinel. “All teams had on me was game film and they kept saying they wanted to see me live. It was impossible to work out because every time I tried, it felt like I couldn’t walk the next day.”

3 » The New England Patriots drafted three former Florida players over the weekend – defensive end Jermaine Cunningham, linebacker Brandon Spikes and tight end Aaron Hernandez. However, only one of the three already has ties (albeit limited ones) to the area. According to a variety of reports, Spikes has been dating Callie Rivers, a volleyball player at UF who happens to be the daughter of Boston Celtics‘ coach Doc Rivers and brother of former Gators five-star basketball commitment Austin Rivers. Needless to say, her father is happy to have Spikes close and even gave Patriots head coach Bill Belichick a recommendation. “Big guy, big for an inside linebacker,” Belichick told the Boston Herald. “Very highly respected […] and, of course, came with a good recommendation from Doc. Of course, I appreciate that. He can keep an eye on him up here, keep his daughter a little closer to home.”

4 » Already a close personal friend with Gators head coach Urban Meyer, Belichick spoke fondly of the Florida football program when asked why he drafted three players from it over the weekend. “[When] we were in Florida, I felt like we were working out half of the first and second round,” he said. “We saw all those guys [...] it was the day after their Pro Day down there. It was a good meeting like it always is with Florida. Those kids are very focused on football. Football’s important to them. They’re in a good program. It’s important for them to win. They know what they are doing. They’ve worked hard both on and off the field. They’re extremely well-coached by Coach Meyer and his staff, so it’s a lot of fun to sit down and talk football with them.”

Extra Bit » Former Gators cornerback Wondy Pierre-Louis has been given a tryout with the New York Giants and will attend the team’s mini camp hoping to earn a contract, according to the Naples News.

Photo Credit: Associated Press

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Austin Rivers reaffirms UF commitment…sort of

Five-star shooting guard recruit Austin Rivers (Winter Park, FL), a Florida Gators commitment for over a year, spoke to The Gainesville Sun about his commitment status after his team won the semifinals of the FHSAA Class 6A state tournament Friday night.

Rivers, who has also been entertaining an offer from the Duke Blue Devils, claims that his recent trip to Durham, NC, was mostly for due diligence.

“Right now, if I had to [sign] somewhere, it would be Florida,” Rivers said. “I went up there to see stuff. It’s always been Florida, Florida, Florida. I went on a visit to see [somewhere different].”

Already settled with the Gators is his sister, Callie Rivers, currently a junior outside hitter on Florida’s volleyball team. Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers, Austin’s father, has spoken highly of Gators head coach Billy Donovan and the Florida basketball program on numerous occasions.

Rumors have swirled over the last few months that Rivers was planning to drop the Gators and commit to the Blue Devils instead. This was fueled by the relative success of each team. However, he suggests that is not the case whatsoever.

“I haven’t told anybody I’ve decommitted from Florida,” Rivers said. “I don’t think [fans] should be worried. At the end of the day, I’ll do what’s best.”

Tags: , , , , ,

TWO BITS: Austin Rivers, Georgia’s NFL DC

1 » Five-star shooting guard Austin Rivers (Winter Park, FL) has all of the intangibles. The son of Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers, he also has the pedigree. Now all that is left for fans to wonder is whether or not he will stick on his commitment to join the Florida Gators as the prized member of Billy Donovan‘s 2011 recruiting class. Rivers is also being recruited by the Duke Blue Devils; but for now, he is firmly in Orange and Blue, and Florida basketball fans who are depressed about this season can take a gander at this video and feel some hope for the future.

2 » While the Gators have been focused on bringing new defensive coordinator George Edwards into the fold, the Georgia Bulldogs have been doing the same to their new hire at the same position, Todd Grantham. Like Edwards, Grantham was an NFL position coach this past season; however, the former worked with linebackers while the latter coached up the defensive line. Recently eliminated from the playoffs as a member of the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff, Grantham is ready to get to work in Athens, GA, just like his new arch-rival has in Gainesville, FL.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Duke closing in on Rivers, but doing it right way

Almost exactly one month ago, OGGOA reported on Florida Gators basketball’s prized 2011 commitment, 5-star combo guard Austin Rivers, who was considering other options while making his decision whether or not to join the Orange & Blue in two years. While Rivers said he remained orally committed to the Gators then and holds the same contention now, he has begun to give heavy consideration to the Duke Blue Devils, who have been courting him for some time.

“I still love Florida so much,” Rivers told the Orlando Sentinel. “I fell in love with that campus and that program the minute I saw it. But it doesn’t help recruiting for the Gators at all when people take the words out of my mouth and put it out there that I’m undecided.”

There is much more to this story – read it after the jump…
Continue Reading » Duke closing in on Rivers, but doing it right way

Tags: , , , , , ,