Questions About Duke For Parker?

Some programs are known for producing top big men. Some programs are known for producing guards. Often it's that perception that drives a recruitment one way or another. That's certainly the case with Georgia big man Tony Parker who will be on campus for Duke's Countdown to Craziness next month.

Rated as a four star prospect and measuring out at 6-foot-9 and 275 pounds, Lithonia (Ga.) Miller Grove stand out Tony Parker certainly has his share of options as the recruiting process begins to heat up. Georgia Tech, Tennessee, Connecticut, Oklahoma, Louisville, Georgetown, Georgia, Virginia Tech, and Alabama have already extended scholarship offers, and other schools such as Duke have begun recruiting him as well. However, the talented big man says the process hasn't kicked off in a big way at this point.

"It's pretty early and I'm just focusing on my high school season and getting better at this point," said Parker. "I'm watching the schools and the teams a little bit here and there, just trying to see how they do things and how they play."

Style of play is something every high major recruit takes into consideration when looking at different schools, but when it's a big man the analysis is a bit more intense. It certainly is for Parker.

"I want to see how the programs use their big men and how they develop big guys to make the pros. How many touches to the bigs get? How do the players look when they get there? And how do they look when they are finishing up? These are all things I'm watching to see with the different schools."

Over the course of the summer the Blue Devils in the form of assistant Nate James have begun to intensify their recruitment of Parker, whose relationship with the Duke coach has grown with each contact.

"Coach James is a great guy. We talk a lot. He came to my first open gym on September 9th. We've talked a bunch. I'll call him. And he talks to me when he can. We talk about a lot of things. He's just really cool. He tells you like it is."

While Parker certainly seems to appreciate the straight forward approach, he's also letting Duke know his opinions and impressions of the program early on.

"With Duke they are known as a guard school really. They haven't had a dominant big guys since Carlos Boozer and Elton Brand. That's something they need to overcome a little bit, but they are doing that. They mainly just talk to me about how I fit in and how I could come in and be the next dominant big guy there. They talk about how they'd be able to put me in there and make me produce. They are up front about all of it."

In addition to his conversations with James, Parker has spoken at times with head coach Mike Krzyzewski a few times.

"Actually I've talked to him a few times and I like him. He was the guy who recommended me to USA Basketball trials initially, which carried a lot of weight. I like talking to him and everyone knows he's a great, great coach."

With initial questions and impressions recorded, Parker will now make his way to Durham next month for Duke's annual Countdown to Craziness event.

"It's going to be a lot of fun. It's the first time I've been up there in a while and it'll be good to see the campus and see the guys getting ready to practice for the first time. It's going to be good to see them getting serious and getting ready."

After the season opens officially and the visit is over, Parker will return home to Georgia and begin preparing to lead Miller Grove to a third consecutive title. As one of the go-to players for his team, Parker knows opponents know the scouting report on him.

"I think [the scouting report] is that you have to push me away from the basket. I can make those shots, but I'm not as consistent out there as I am around the basket. If a coach wanted to defend me he's going to tell his guys to push me away from the paint."

"Because of those weaknesses I've been putting in a lot of time in the gym. Working on my conditioning and on my ability to make jump shots and to face up when I have to. In practice I have a bunch of guys who are either really strong or have really long wingspans, so I get different looks every day. In some of the games things come easier because of my size, but I really put in the work in practice so when I do face a bigger guy I am ready. My goal this season is to average a double-double and to lead our team to a third title."

Parker is considered the No. 8 center prospect in the class of 2012 and the 29th best overall prospect by Scout.com


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