Parker Focused On Winning

He is the top big man on the recruiting board for the class of 2012 for the Blue Devils. So much so that a member of the Duke staff has been present for the majority of his games this season. So what's on the mind of Lithonia (Ga.) Miller Grove stand out Tony Parker? Winning.

So far this season the Miller Grove High Wolverines have utilized Tony Parker's talents to the fullest. The team has won 16 of 17 games while the 6-foot-9, 270 pound Parker has posted season averages of 18.9 points, 15.0 rebounds, and 3.3 blocks per game. But it's not quite enough for the nation's number 10 center.

"Actually we just lost our first game of the season on Friday night," said Parker. "It was tough, but will help us in the long run. We need to get better and keep working every day."

For Parker the mantra of getting better each and every time he steps on the court is something he's taken to heart. Especially after a summer that wasn't up to his standards thanks to a combination of factors.

"I didn't have a good summer. I was in terrible shape after breaking my toe and having a bad ankle. When I broke my wrist earlier this fall it was something that really helped me because all I could do was cardio and running. So when I came back after missing the first game of the season, I was ready to go. The time I spent working on my conditioning helped me improve my explosiveness and helped strengthen my core. I needed that."

And, speaking of need, a number of programs have made it known they need Parker's commitment as a potential center piece for the class of 2012. Including the defending National Champs.

"Duke has been very active in my recruitment. Coach Nate James was at every one of my games during the open period. Every one. Coach K even came in for one of my games. With Duke I know they are serious about me and that a guy they really want."

Of course when most causal fans think of Duke, the first thing that comes to mind is guard play and the stable of great guards that have played for Mike Krzyzewski. It's something Parker says he'll need to look past as his recruiting goes forward.

"They are talking about guys like Elton Brand and Carlos Boozer when they are talking about guys I remind them of. When they have had players like that, they've all been really productive. When they haven't, their big guys play a different style and so do their guards. I have to watch all of their games, and it's something I pick out when I'm watching."

Another school that has upped the recruiting on Parker is Ohio State where the focus on big men is more apparent with likely National Freshman of the Year Jared Sullinger posting big numbers as the team's top option. Recently Parker took a visit to Columbus and came away with some comparisons to his preseason trip to Durham.

"It's night and day, really. Duke is smaller and more wooded. Ohio State is like a city. Everything around Ohio State is about OSU. With Duke it's more low key and there are a bunch of schools around there. Ohio State is more open, while Duke is a little more closed off."

Big school versus small school aside, there was another difference the four star prospect noticed as well.

"At Duke they take basketball a little more seriously. Duke fans are crazy and very loyal. They are one of a kind and true fans. They let you know that they are behind their team and program no matter what. It's really unique."

In the middle of his junior season Parker says he's not really focusing too much on furthering the recruiting process now or at any point in the near future. Instead he'll focus on getting Miller Grove to the State Championship game while balancing his chance to study the programs that come calling with his dad. And while the pressures of the recruiting game can mount, there are some high points as well.

"The neatest thing so far has been to have the two number ones recruiting me. That's been really cool to have the two best programs in the country watching me and talking to me. It motivates me to keep working hard every time I get on the court."

Parker is rated as a four star prospect according to and the nation's No. 10 center.

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