Beal concludes workouts by visiting Bobcats

With 10 days to go until the 2012 NBA Draft – and his 19th birthday – Florida Gators freshman guard Bradley Beal completed his final pre-draft workout after performing live for the Charlotte Bobcats on Monday morning.

Beal and fellow potential top-five selection Kentucky forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist worked out for Charlotte, which was without a head coach at the time, as owner Michael Jordan, team president Rod Higgins and general manager Rich Cho looked on, according to the Associated Press.

Many draft analysts believe Beal’s stiffest competition to be the No. 2 overall pick, which is owned by the Bobcats, is Kidd-Gilchrist, but Beal was happy to go against him Monday because both were able to shine by playing against each other.

“It really was,” said Beal, noting that the workout helped highlight their contrasting styles. “We both got after it, on both ends, even my defense and his offense. We’re just competitors and we both went at it today. It was cool. We were laughing and joking around, but competing at the same time.”

He also said Monday’s competition was Almost every workout was similar. There was a lot of ball-handling involved, especially Washington and this one. They had drills where I came off screens and show what I’ll do in certain situations. Overall I think I did very well.

Some have questioned Beal’s decision to only work out for three teams – Charlotte (No. 2 overall pick), Washington (No. 3 overall pick) and Cleveland (No. 4, 24 overall picks) – but he insisted on Monday that his agent Mark Bartelstein is sure he will not fall out of the top four. “My agent and I have discussed that,” he said. “Everybody’s pretty much telling me I won’t go any lower than that, so I just limited myself to where I fit in best.”

Despite Bartelstein’s confidence, some mock drafts and NBA analysts believe Beal could theoretically fall out of the top four depending how the teams’ respective decision-making processes unfold. That being said, it is unlikely that he would drop further than No. 7 overall and the fact that he did not work out privately for teams with picks after Cleveland probably would not hurt him from being selected by other organizations.

Should Beal go No. 2 overall to the Bobcats, he would tie Neal Walk (1969, Phoenix) as the highest-selected Gators basketball player in team history. A Florida student-athlete has not gone in the top five of the NBA Draft since forward/center Al Horford was picked No. 3 overall by Atlanta in 2007; UF also had G/F Corey Brewer (No. 7, Minnesota) and F/C Joakim Noah (No. 9, Chicago) go in the top 10 that year.

Photo Credit: Associated Press

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SIX BITS: Calathes, Hernandez, Noah, Tyus, Beal

1 » Following up on a story from May in which the Dallas Mavericks head of international scouting said that point guard Nick Calathes will have an opportunity to play in the NBA this season is word that he may actually get that chance. According to ESPNDallas.com’s Tim MacMahon, Calathes “had discussions with the Mavericks [last] week indicating that he wants to play in the NBA” but continues “to be heavily recruited by European teams” now that his three-year contract with Panathinaikos has officially expired. MacMahon notes that should Dallas bring Calathes in for summer league action, he would be signed to a nonguaranteed contract.

2 » Now that the New England Patriots have locked up 2010 first-round pick tight end Rob Gronkowski long term with a six-year, $53 million contract extension, the focus has turned to what the team will do with fellow 2010 draft picks second-round linebacker Brandon Spikes and fourth-round TE Aaron Hernandez. As noted by the Boston Herald, New England signing Gronkowski to the richest contract for a tight end in NFL history could pose problems for Hernandez’s future. Hernandez remains under contract with the team through the 2013 season and is set to earn less than $1 million in salary each season. Should the team decide to give him a franchise tender, it would only cost them around $6 million, making there no immediate need for the Patriots to extend Hernandez as they would be able to avoid tying up a ton of money into one position. A No. 1 tight end in most NFL offenses, Hernandez is basically No. 2 at that position for New England despite also seeing time in the backfield and out near the sideline as a wide receiver. He most likely feels that he deserves money equal to or surpassing Gronkowski, which means his long-term future may have him wearing a different uniform.

3 » Only two of the seven former Florida Gators that participated in first-round action in the 2012 NBA Playoffs remain in contention for a title. Miami Heat power forward Udonis Haslem and guard/forward Mike Miller both advanced to the NBA Finals over the weekend; Haslem is looking for his second ring while Miller is still pursuing his first.

4 » Speaking of the playoffs, Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah (who severely sprained his ankle during the first round) has yet to recover from his injury. “I’ve tried to play a little basketball, but it’s still a little sore,” he told French-language website Catch and Shoot. “My left leg is not at its best. I can’t push off it; I can’t run well. I’m not ready at all.” Noah has been saying all offseason – since the Bulls were eliminated – that his No. 1 priority is healing and improving the strength of his ankles and lower body so he can compete with the French National Team in the 2012 London Olympics. There is a way to go until the games begin, but Noah obviously has plenty of progress that he must make before being able to participate.

5 » Former Gators forward Alex Tyus, who has spent his first season out of college playing professionally for Maccabi Ashdod in Israel, learned recently that the country has granted him temporary citizenship, which will allow him to train and likely compete with the Israeli National Team in the 2013 European Qualification games. Tyus averaged 12.6 points and 8.5 rebounds per game in his rookie season and helped lead Ashdod to their league finals (where the team fell 83-63 to Maccabi Tel Aviv). He and his wife converted to Judaism prior to leaving for Israel last summer.

6 » According to his agent Mark Bartelstein, who spoke with CBS Sports’ Jeff Goodman over the weekend, Florida freshman guard Bradley Beal has already scheduled three more workouts over the next seven days. Beal is set to work out for Washington (No. 3 overall) on Thursday, Cleveland (No. 4 and No. 24 overall) on Saturday and Charlotte (No. 2 overall) a week from Monday. The 2012 NBA Draft is set for June 28 giving Beal just over two weeks from press time to win over coaches and front office executives.

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FOUR BITS: Thompson, Harvin, Beal, Lochte

1 » Players stand out every year during NFL organized team activieis that never wind up making the active roster but word out of the Baltimore Ravens camps is that former Florida Gators wide receiver Deonte Thompson is doing more than just playing well. According to Comcast SportsNet, Thompson’s performance over the last three weeks has been worthy of the “Most Heads Turned” award. “The undrafted free agent receiver from Florida emerged from the masses, exhibiting a ton of speed and nice hands,” insider John Eisenberg wrote. “[Joe] Flacco hooked up with him several times in the workouts open to the media. He gets the early nod as this year’s player most likely to…earn a roster spot as a longshot.”

2 » Probably not much of a surprise to many who have followed his career and injury history, Minnesota Vikings WR Percy Harvin was back out of action on Thursday just two days after joining OTAs for the first time this offseason. Harvin, who had minor shoulder surgery in April, was completely cleared for practice but no-showed on Thursday and wrote on Twitter that “there’s no such thing as minor surgery trust me.” He goes on to indicate that practice on Tuesday was bothersome to his shoulder and he hoped that he did not over-do it. Head coach Leslie Frazier downplayed Harvin’s absence by noting that OTAs are not mandatory, but it is rare for a player to miss one unless it is family or injury related.

3 » Though Gators guard Bradley Beal is not competing at the 2012 NBA Combine in Chicago, IL, he did get measured and weighed on Thursday. Beal came in at 6’3.25” with socks and 6’4.75” with shoes with a 6’8” wingspan and 8’3” reach. He also weighed 202 lbs. and checked in with just six percent body fat. Beal was listed at 6’3” by Florida so teams are certainly excited to see that extra inch of height. His decision not to participate was likely one made by agent Mark Bartelstein.

4 » There have been plenty of cameras and production crews in Gainesville, FL over the last few months filming former Gators swimmer Ryan Lochte as he trains for the 2012 London Olympics. The latest came as part of a commercial shoot for AT&T, which filmed Lochte at Broward Pool on Wednesday. “Lochte, who stars in the commercial, sprang from a starting block and disappeared beneath the water’s surface,” according to the The Independent Florida Alligator. “Production crew members used rain barrels to create waves in the pool, which was lined with special-effects material to darken its water.” It is unknown when the commercial will air.

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Former Gators offer advice as Beal preps for draft

In just over two months Florida Gators freshman guard Bradley Beal will take the stage in New York, NY, shake commissioner David Stern’s hand and put on a hat representing the team that selected him early in the 2012 NBA Draft.

But before that day arrives, Beal must first hire an agent, attend league-affiliated events and take part in private workouts and interviews with interested teams. OGGOA spoke with three former Florida players the day Beal announced his decision to go pro and each was quick to offer plenty of advice for him as he takes the next step in his career.

Atlanta Hawks forward/center Al Horford, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft and second highest-drafted UF player in school history (Neal Walk, No. 2), actually spoke with Beal while he was in the process of making his decision and said that no matter what he decided to do he had to concentrate each day on doing whatever it takes to improve as a player both on and off the court.

“I had a chance to speak with him right after the season,” Horford said. “He is very, very talented, so my advice to him was just to focus on working on his game and to make sure he got stronger. The most important thing is just to keep working and keep getting better because he has a lot of potential. He showed some positive things throughout the season, but he has a lot more to offer in the long run if he can get there.”

Horford did not attempt to influence Beal’s final decision one way or another and pointed out that the sharpshooter’s game may even be at a higher level than even his was after his sophomore season.

“He was asking me what I thought about his situation as far as him having to make a decision about whether to stay or go. I went through that experience. For me it worked out that I stuck around another year and I was able to get better,” he explained.

“He’s very talented, so I think that he was way ahead of what everybody would expect from a freshman. He’s a guard, and I told him that if it is something you want to do to then go for it. He could have stayed in school and worked on his game, but he’s talented enough to go to the NBA. With hard work and everything, he will be a good player in this league.”

Continue Reading » Former Gators offer advice as Beal preps for draft

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Parsons heads to France to play for Cholet

With the NBA lockout ongoing and potentially not ending any time soon, former Florida Gators forward Chandler Parsons decided to take advantage of another opportunity and will play for two months across the Atlantic Ocean in France.

Parsons signed a two-month deal with Cholet Basket, one of 16 teams in Pro A of the Ligue Nationale de Basketball, the top men’s French professional basketball league. He is signed through Oct. 31 but has an out clause on Oct. 3 – the day the NBA is supposed to open training camp – in case the league does start on time.

“It’s a great opportunity. Cholet is one of the better teams in France and they have a great history,” Parsons told OGGOA Friday evening. “It’s really prestigious team. I’m just happy they were flexible enough to allow me to come over there and play with a NBA out to return to Houston whenever [the lockout] ends.”

Though he has never been to France, Parsons is excited about the opportunity and feels some comfort knowing that a long-time friend, guard Taylor Battle formerly of Penn State, is currently playing for Cholet.

“It will be nice to have him there and know somebody,” he said. “I think it’s good just to keep competing and playing, and they have a high level of talent over there, so I think I’m better off going there, competing and practicing every day and getting better as a player.”

After his two-month deal is over, if the NBA has not begun playing, Parsons has the option to re-sign with Cholet, return to the United States or play for any other team.

“There were other teams in a few other countries [that offered],” he said. “If you look, not a lot of guys are getting the option to go overseas with an out [clause]. I’m real fortunate. My agent [Mark Bartelstein] did a great job, and I’m just excited to go do it and be able to compete instead of just being around home and working out here.”

The No. 38 overall pick in the second round of the 2011 NBA Draft, Parsons was selected by the Houston Rockets, who had originally traded the pick but bought it back for $1.5 million. He is expected to sign a guaranteed contract when the 2011-12 season begins.

Photo Credit: US Presswire

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Chandler Parsons – Path to the 2011 NBA Draft: Selected by Houston…then locked out

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

With his travels and workouts completed, Parsons caught up with us last time the day before the draft as he relaxed with family and friends in Orlando.

Selected with the No. 38 overall pick in the second round of the draft by the Houston Rockets, Parsons celebrated for one night and then immediately got on a plane to Houston and got to work. We spoke with him after he arrived back in the Florida on the eve of the NBA’s lockout for the final edition of his Path to the Draft blog.

Leading up to the draft, I knew that my range was somewhere between 20-40. I knew I had done really well in my workouts and very well in my Houston workout. Before the draft, my agent Mark [Bartelstein] was telling me a couple teams that he thought were good possibilities. He said there’s going to be so many trades with this lockout happening that I had to just let him work the phone and talk to people while I enjoyed the process.

I had 20 people come over to my house to watch it, and basically we just sat and watched it like everybody else.

Three picks before [I got chosen], he called me and said, “There is no way you’re getting past 39, but Minnesota may trade the 38th pick because Houston loves you. Just be watching.” He called me a pick later and said, “Golden State just bought the pick from Minnesota; you’re going to Golden State at 38 most likely.” So I’m like, “Alright cool.” I’m watching, getting hyped because I know I’m about to get picked and he texts me, “Houston bought it from Golden State. You’re going to the Rockets.” And then basically a minute later, they announced it. Houston ended up buying it for $1.5 million from them.

One pick before, I’m telling everyone I’m probably going to be next. Right before the 38th pick, they announced a bunch of trades that went down. We were like, “Come on. Come on!” And then after they announced my pick, we all went crazy.

Less than five minutes after the pick, Coach Kevin McHale [and a few of the team’s scouts] called me to congratulate me and tell me that they’re happy to get me. They said they couldn’t wait to get me to Houston.

After I got picked, we started celebrating and partying. I had ordered a 22-passenger super stretch limo to come to my house. I’m about to get in and my parents, who were the last ones to leave the house, start screaming. So I ran inside and that is when Vernon [Macklin] got picked at No. 52 [by the Detroit Pistons]. So we all ran back inside to see Vern’s deal.

After that we went to two places – a club called Bliss and another called Vain downtown. My parents stayed the whole time – I took care of them. My three older brothers went and basically all of my closes friends from Orlando and my family did, too. They were all at the club in VIP and it was really a great time.

The next day was rough. We came back to my house after the bars closed at 2 a.m. and had people over until like 5-6 a.m. Then I had an 11 a.m. flight to Houston the next morning for a press conference.

I met everybody at Houston, did the press conference, worked out. l went to an Astros game and then, Sunday-Wednesday, we had a minicamp with eight-to-10 of the guys working out each day from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. My teammates are some cool guys; a lot of young talent, a lot of pieces that can make our team very good.

Having a new coach like Kevin McHale, who is a legend, I can’t wait to learn from him.

They got that camp in there because of the lockout. If there wasn’t a lockout, I’d be there right now getting ready for Summer League in Las Vegas.

We had a couple days to work with the coaches, get the terminology down. They told us, during this lockout, to make sure we’re working out with as many pros as we can and to stay in shape because there’s going to be limited time to do training camp once everyone gets together. And I even got to keep the number 25.

Being in the lower half of the second round, pick No. 38, it’s a really high percentage chance I get a guaranteed contract. There’s also the fact that they bought my pick for $1.5 million. It’s a really good sign. I’m in a really good situation because there’s not a lot of guys in my position at Houston. There’s Chase Budinger who plays small forward, but there are a lot of opportunities there. I worked out really well this week, and the coaching staff really liked me. I just have to get it done.

I love Houston. I’ve been there before. [Former Florida point guard] Jai Lucas is from there, so he happened to be there all week and he showed me around the city. It’s huge. It’s a big city, and it’s hot. It was like 98 degrees when we were there. Being from Florida, you’d think I was used to that. It’s a great spot to be in, and a good opportunity. I’m looking forward to it.

My agent recommended me to take 10 days off, because I’ve been working out non-stop. I’ve been going for a while. Courtney Lee is going to be working out in Orlando, and I’ll also be in Gainesville working out with the team. Hopefully we can get together with some of the [fellow former Gators] players and get some workouts in. Basically it is about staying in good shape and competing against as many NBA guys as I can. There’s a lot of options; basically I’m just going to take two weeks off and then figure that out. I just have to make sure I stay in the gym and my legs get stronger.

To all of the fans in Gator Nation and also those of you who have kept up with my blog here, thanks for supporting me throughout this whole process – throughout my whole four years at the University of Florida and this whole draft process.

Thanks for believing in me.

Remember – hard work pays off. My whole dream as a kid was to go in the NBA, get drafted and be in the situation I am. I’m honored to be in the situation representing Florida, and it is true – hard work really does pay off. I can’t wait for the season to start, and I hope all of my fans support me in the NBA, too.

Go Gators,

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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,

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Chandler Parsons – Path to the 2011 NBA Draft: Workouts intensify as draft nears

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 nearly every team in the league, Parsons got in touch with us Wednesday while spending a rare day off in Denver, CO. After fitting in four workouts in a handful of days, including traveling to-and-from the northeast, he finally found an opportunity to rest while on the West Coast for a three-meeting swing. Parsons will end his scheduled workouts in Boston, MA on June 20 and will be checking in with us once more before the draft and one more time afterward.

We last spoke with Parsons the night before he met with the New Jersey Nets.

New Jersey went really well. It was the first time I got to workout against Kyle Singler from Duke. Also there was [head coach] Avery Johnson, their GM [Billy King] and basically their whole staff was there watching the workout. I shot well, played well and got really good feedback from them. I felt that they were really big on me.

It was pretty much the same as most of the workouts but there was a lot of drill work. They put us in their plays and sets and had us play out of them – coming off curls, coming off flares, playing one-on-one on different spots on the floor.

After that I went to Washington and that was really cool. Sam Cassel, the old Florida State guy [and now an assistant coach], ran that workout. Their coach was there, Flip Saunders, and that was another really good workout. I talked to my agent [Mark Bartelstein] today, and he said the New Jersey Nets, Boston Celtics and Washington Wizards right now – those three are showing a lot of interest.

I actually got to workout with Vernon Macklin that time and that guy Jeremy Tyler, who didn’t go to college and went straight to Japan. Also there were Malclom Lee from UCLA and Nolan Smith from Duke.

Vernon’s been doing good. I haven’t been working out with him much – he works out for different teams than I do for the most part – but I’m hearing he’s doing really well. I heard he did really well at Portsmouth [Invitational] and I heard he’s been doing good at the workouts. At the workout I did with him, he did really good. The guy he went against, Jeremy Tyler, is a projected first-round pick and Vernon did just as good as he did. He’s working really hard at it.

Those guys [including Alex Tyus] are continuing to help themselves. They’re playing hard, showing their athleticism and, going through this process, they’ve gotten a lot out of it and helped themselves for this draft.

After Washington I went over to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Cleveland was tough. It was probably the hardest workout yet. Not just because of length, but they legit had me do running and conditioning, three suicides in two minutes. It was also a great workout. It was me, Kawhi Leonard from San Diego State, Klay Thompson from Washington State and Alec Burks from Colorado. It was top guys, first-round guys in the workout. Everyone was going hard. They did a drill at the end that before even the drill started, the coach pulled us aside and said, ‘This is a really tough drill.’

In the NBA there’s the defensive three seconds. So basically it’s a drill where there’s a coach on one wing, a coach on the top of the key and a player on the other wing. You’re sliding back-and-forth in the lane getting your feet in and your feet out. When the other coach on the wing slides, you have to step up outside the lane, stop him, and then he skips it to the guy and you have to close out and play one-on-one from there. You have to do that for all six of the guys you’re working out against. And that’s after an entire workout – a full-blown shooting, three-on-three, one-on-one and three suicides in two minutes. That was pretty tough.

I was exhausted – exhausted after that. I ate, interviewed and got on a plane to New York City. I flew into LaGuardia [Airport] to work out of the New York Knicks, but it’s not in MSG it’s at their practice facility, which is about an hour away. I got in around 8-9 p.m. and then had to wake up the next morning at 8 a.m. to workout for the Knicks.

The Knicks were awesome. Everybody was there – [head coach Mike] D’Antoni, [director of pro scouting] John Gabriel, [former team president now consultant] Donnie Walsh, [assistant general manager] Allan Houston – their entire staff. It was kind of a last-minute thing, but they wanted to really see me. So it was just me and three other guys. These workouts are tough with six guys, so you can imagine how it is with four guys.

I was going against Justin Harper from Richmond, who is also projected to go first round. It was two-on-two full court instead of three-on-three and a lot of one-on-one drills. Limited breaks because there were less people. It was good. Allan Houston called my agent afterward and said I was a lot more athletic than they thought, competed well and am in really good shape.

I flew out from there last night to Denver. The best part about this whole this is the unlimited room service. So I’ve been eating filet mignon, French onion soup and ahi tuna like it’s my job! I have off all day today, so I woke up with some pancakes, fruit, chocolate milk and went down to the hot tub and the steam room for a while.

Now me and E’Twaun Moore [of Purdue] are going up to the practice gym to get the shots up. I can finally relax and just kind of catch my wind, get the jet leg out of me before another big workout tomorrow.

OGGOA FAN QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK

Q: What is the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome during this draft process?
PARSONS: “Every city, every team I work out for is a job interview. You got to go in there, and you got to prove people wrong. You only have one opportunity for a first impression, so I put all my chips on the table and I go into every workout working as hard as I can, showing these people what I can do. I want to show these teams I’ve gotten more athletic, stronger, that I can handle the ball. I want to show these teams what I can do and how I can help their system.”

Q: Growing up in the Orlando area, was it always your dream to play for the Magic or just to play professionally in the NBA?
PARSONS: “My dream has always been to play in the NBA, but my family has been season ticket holders since day one for the Magic. Looking at the draft and what the Magic have, they only have one pick which is the 53rd pick. Doubtful I’ll be around for the 53rd pick, so my chances of playing for the Magic are very slim. That would have been awesome, but no matter what city I go to I’ll be living my dream. I’ll eventually play in Orlando [on the road]. My family has been so supportive my whole career. I could go to Toronto and they’re going to be at a lot of games. It would be awesome to play in Orlando so I could have my friends and family see me play, but how supportive and how good my family’s been to me, no matter where I go, they’re going to be there.”

Go Gators,

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