He may not be the quickest, tallest, or strongest, but senior forward Chandler Parsons has something one cannot coach—he has a heart.
The White Mamba’s all-around game has played a huge factor in Florida’s (23-6, 12-3) turnaround this season.
He’s averaging 11. 4 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and one steal per game. He’s shooting 49 percent from the field and 38 percent from beyond the arc.
He’s currently leading the Gators in rebounds and assists.
While his stats may not jump out at you, ask yourself this question: Where would the Gators be this year without the White Mamba?
Quite frankly, I’m not sure where they’d be. He’s a guy that hurts teams in multiple ways.
The White Mamba can shoot, pass, rebound, defend, and hustle
He has a knack for crashing the boards on the offensive end. Florida fans are accustomed to his trademark, catching a ball on a missed shot and slamming it in one motion.
Check out his stats in Florida’s games this season.
On New Year’s Eve, Parsons scored only five points on two for four shooting, but grabbed 11 rebounds, and dished out seven assists in the 71-67 win at Xavier.
Since the loss, Xavier has dropped only one game, and is currently no. 23.
In a blowout loss at home to no. four Ohio State, the White Mamba scored 11 points (shot five for six from the field) and notched seven rebounds.
He scored 17 points on six for 10 from the field (two for four from three point range) and grabbed 12 rebounds in a 70-68 win over no. 10 Kentucky at the O-Dome.
In an overtime thriller against no. 24 Vanderbilt, the White Mamba came through again. He tallied 18 points (six for 13 shooting) and 11 rebounds.
In the double overtime win at Georgia, Parsons finished with 18 points (six for 12 shooting), 12 rebounds and three steals.
Despite a loss at no. 22 Kentucky, Parsons flirted with a triple double. He posted 15 points (six for 11 shooting), eight rebounds and seven assists.
Granted, the Casselberry native is only a 54 percent free throw shooter and tends to be too passive on offense (see stats versus Ohio State). The passiveness actually shows his selflessness.
With all due respect to Gator great Joakim Noah, the White Mamba has come along further than any other player during a four year period since I began watching the Gators 10-plus years ago.
Noah simply couldn’t get on the floor as a freshman because of the abundance of big men. He was stuck behind David Lee, Al Horford, Chris Richard, and Adrian Moss.
Parsons, a former five star recruit by rivals.com, arrived at Florida with big expectations. He was thrust into action after the early departures of the Oh-Fours in the 2007 NBA Draft.
He had his ups and downs as a freshman. For the most part, he played lousy as a sophomore, but has flourished his final two seasons.
He began his turnaround last season. He earned the nickname, the White Mamba, following his Kobe Bryant like buzzer beaters against NC State and South Carolina.
From what I understand, player of the year candidates are supposed to be the best player on the floor on a consistent basis and on a solid team.
Parsons fits the bill perfectly. He’s proven to be the best all-around player on the court and his team currently sits atop the SEC standings.
He’s one of the guys that will do whatever Gator coach Billy Donovan asks.
Need a big shot—he’s your guy. Donovan needs someone to grab the key rebound to secure the rebound—done. Need someone to come up with a steal at a crucial point in the game—done. Need someone to come up with a block—done.
Here’s one more case to prove my point. ESPN’s Joe Lunardi currently projects the Gators as a fourth seed in the Southeast (New Orleans) regional.
Florida would beat the Charleston Cougars in the first game, but there’s no way they’d beat any of the second round candidates (no. five seed Georgetown, no. 12 seed Baylor, no. 12 seed Michigan) without him, despite the games being held at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa.
Parsons may not have the flashiest game around, but he gets the job done.