Florida Basketball: Chandler Parsons Needs To Step Up For The Gators
Head coach Billy Donovan and the Florida Gators clinched a spot in the NCAA Tournament last season for the first time since 2007 and forward Chandler Parsons was key in that accomplishment.
Parsons averaged 12.4 points and 6.9 rebounds per game and came through in the clutch twice for Florida, drilling game-winning three-pointers against North Carolina State and South Carolina.
When Parsons announced that he would be returning to Gainesville for his senior season, the expectations skyrocketed for the Gators for the 2010-2011 season.
Florida returned all five starters (including three seniors), Parsons was named to preseason watch list for the Naismith Award and a No. 9 preseason ranking had pundits thinking that Florida could possibly make a Final Four run.
And while each of those goals are still possible, the outlook isn't too bright for the Gator Nation and a big reason why is the play of Parsons.
Admittedly, the entire team has struggled mightily this season but as the leader of the team, Parsons should shoulder a lot of the blame.
After all, his play in Florida's first 11 games has been underwhelming, to say the least.
Parsons has never been much of a scorer, but averaging just 9.7 points per game while also averaging a career-high 31.8 minutes per game as a senior is a cause for concern.
He's simply not playing aggressively enough offensively, averaging just 7.8 field goal attempts and 2.7 free throw attempts per game.
Was last season a fluke for Chandler Parsons?
Another facet of Parsons's game that has been lacking punch is his ability to get a good handle on the basketball.
Not only is Parsons averaging just 5.7 rebounds per game, but he is also averaging 2.5 turnovers per game and his assist-to-turnover ratio is 1.14 (both career-worst stats).
However, the worst aspect of Parsons's game this season is his inability to deliver in clutch situations, something which has always been a specialty for him.
In the Gators' three losses to Ohio State, UCF and Jacksonville, Parsons is averaging just 7.7 points and 7.0 rebounds per game.
While those are solid numbers, they are definitely not what you would expect from your star player, especially when the going gets tough.
Perhaps the pressure of being Florida's "go-to guy" is eating at Parsons and affecting his play.
He may just be taking a step back and letting other players take the spotlight, but since his assists per game average has only increased to 2.9 from 2.6 last season, that argument doesn't hold much water.
Maybe Parsons just isn't as good as the Gator Nation believed.
His numbers during his freshman and sophomore seasons indicate that he may have overachieved for Florida last season and if that's the case, then there's definitely an opportunity for Parsons to overachieve once again.
Parsons is a very hard worker and with talented players like Vernon Macklin and Kenny Boynton on the floor with him, there are plenty of opportunities for the Seminole County native to succeed.
But maybe, just maybe, Parsons is the star player on which the Gators relied so heavily last season and he simply hasn't kicked his game into full gear yet.
Florida needs a leader to take command of a reeling team that is struggling with selfishness and careless mistakes and desperate to play some consistent basketball.
And if Parsons is that leader, he can't afford to wait any longer because the season ain't.
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