For the first time in quite a long time, the Georgia Bulldogs are competing with the big boys of college basketball.
Right now, you can’t confuse Georgia basketball with the Kentuckys of the world, but the Bulldogs are in competition with the Wildcats, along with UCLA, Georgetown, Duke, Ohio State and Memphis for the services of 6'9" center Tony Parker, according to Rivals.com.
Parker ranks 26th overall on the ESPNU 100 and is the exact player the Bulldogs need in order to help turn the program around.
It’s a tough battle for Georgia, considering that Parker has three options. He can replace an All-American at a school like Kansas or Ohio State. He can go to a program rich in tradition like UCLA, Georgetown or Kentucky.
Or Parker can stay home and sign with the Bulldogs and help build something of his own.
In the short time that he’s been on the job, Georgia head coach Mark Fox has made the Bulldogs a tough team to play against. They are aggressive and smart at both ends of the floor, but they need something to build around.
Georgia needs a big-time inside presence that can score, rebound and defend. Parker is that guy.
Fox's first McDonald's All-American was shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope—now, he’s turned his attention to Parker.
Winning Parker is a must for Fox.
It signals that Georgia is intent on becoming a national contender and is trying to do it with in-state players. By signing Parker, it goes a long way in showing other elite players in the state that the Bulldogs are a program headed in a positive direction.
Parker has the combination of size and skill. He takes up space in the paint and has an array of post moves to go to. He can also face up from 15 feet.
Quite simply, he’s one of the elite big men in this year’s class.
Not only is Parker a good fit for the Bulldogs, but Georgia is a good fit for Parker as well. It’s his hometown team, and he can step in and make an impact right away. He can be the reason why Georgia basketball becomes relevant on the national stage once again.
For that to happen though, the Bulldogs not only need to compete with the big boys, but they need to beat them.
Landing a player with the talent of Parker will have them heading in the right direction, sooner rather than later.