Tony Parker lights it up on the basketball court, but the 4-star recruit is still looking for a school to call his home.
Parker surely turned some heads with his performance (10 points, seven rebounds, two blocks) in the McDonald's All-American Game. He is fielding offers from UCLA, Duke, Ohio State, Memphis, Kansas and Georgia.
Standing at 6'9" and weighting 270 pounds, Parker is one of the top centers from the Class of 2012 and is ranked 21st in the ESPNU 100.
Parker, who balls at Miller Grove (Litonia, Ga.), said he models his game off greats like Tim Duncan, Hakeem Olajuwon and Shaquille O'Neal as a strong post player who can run the floor. In college, he wants to work on his outside shot, perimeter passing and countering double teams.
Parker talked with me about his prospective college choices.
The Memphis Tigers have shown the stellar Tony Parker some significant interest and offered him a scholarship.
“Memphis is a great basketball city that is all about basketball,” Parker said. “Coach Josh Pastner does a good job running his system with his guys and they played really well this year.”
The Tigers have three forwards (D.J. Stephens, Stan Simpson and Ferrakohn Hall) who will be seniors and Wesley Witherspoon is graduating, so they could use some size.
Memphis has already signed fellow McDonald's All-American forward William "Shaq" Goodwin (No. 26).
Bill Self and his Kansas Jayhawks are really trying to get Tony Parker to be their center, as Thomas Robinson is likely leaving for the NBA and Jeff Withey and Kevin Young are entering their senior seasons.
“Kansas provides me with a great chance to get better and to really mature as a player,” Parker said. “Kansas has an extreme amount of work ethic and they work their players hard."
"You could tell the difference from when they come in to when they leave like the Morris twins (Marcus and Markieff) and Thomas Robinson," Parker continued. "Assistant coach Danny Manning and the strength and conditioning coach Audrey Hudy get all the players' bodies right.”
Parker likes that Kansas has trained future NBA ballers like the Morris twins, Kirk Hinrich and Mario Chalmers.
Kansas also has recruited small forward Andrew White (No. 49) and power forward Perry Ellis (No. 31).
Tony Parker is a big fan of Jared Sullinger and really likes what the former 2010 McDonald's All-American has accomplished in his two years at Ohio State.
“I think Jared Sullinger will go to the NBA this year,” Parker said. “He’s a great player who has had a great season. He will do great things at the next level, and Ohio State will be losing a great player.”
Buckeyes head coach Thad Matta is known for recruiting other big players like Greg Oden, Sullinger and Daequan Cook, and has led the Buckeyes to two Final Four appearances, including one this year.
“I’m looking at how Ohio State develops their bigs and their players in order to make them better throughout the season,” Parker said.
Ohio State is also trying to recruit forward Amile Jefferson (No. 18).
Georgia struggles the most out of any program Tony Parker is considering, but there are some key factors as to why Parker is interested.
“Georgia is just a hometown school,” Parker said. “They have players that have played with me in high school who are already there.”
Parker was referring to sophomore forward Donte Williams and incoming freshman Brandon Morris, both members of his state championship teams. Williams and Morris could be a strong pull to convince Parker Georgia is the place for him.
The Bulldogs are losing forward Connor Nolte (6'7") to graduation while center John Florveus (7'0) will be a senior. Parker could compete with freshman center Tim Dixon (6'10") for playing time.
Duke is another tempting option for Tony Parker because the center has great respect for the Blue Devils program and head coach Mike Krzyzewski.
“Duke is a good school and coach Mike Krzyzewski is a great coach,” Parker said. “They lost early this year, but that doesn’t matter as Coach K. holds his own. I think his offensive system is very good.”
The Blue Devils are losing forward Miles Plumlee to graduation and three forwards (Todd Zafirovski, Mason Plumlee and Ryan Kelly) are entering their senior seasons.
Other notable recruits include McDonald's All-American guard Rasheed Sulaimon (No. 14), who already signed. Fellow McDonald's All-Americans Amile Jefferson (No. 18) and top national recruit Shabazz Muhammad are also being pursued by Duke.
Duke is coming off a disappointing opening-game loss to Leigh in the NCAA Tournament, but Parker is still high on the program.
The UCLA Bruins are a storied program and have the allure to possibly nab Tony Parker as a top recruit.
“I like UCLA’s atmosphere,” Parker said. “It’s also in Los Angeles, which is a great place. Coach Ben Howland is a good coach and he’s been very consistent in how he deals with his players. He has some who made the pros. He builds a toughness in his program.”
Forwards Reeves Nelson and Brendan Lane are going to be seniors, while forwards Travis and David Wear along with centers Joshua Smith and Anthony Stover, are going to be juniors.
UCLA has signed McDonald's All-American small forward Kyle Anderson (No. 4) while actively pursuing the nation's top recruit Shabazz Muhammad.
Education is really important to Tony Parker, who wants to major in business management and minor in journalism.
With that in mind, Parker said that UCLA and Duke would be the top academic choices.
“They are the top schools academically who are recruiting me,” Parker said.
With that said, there is a good chance these schools have a great edge in signing Parker.