Tony Parker Continues To Watch Closely

He's one of the top big men in the class of 2012 with college basketball's top programs all vying for his signature. So what's new with Georgia's Tony Parker? On Tuesday night the 6'9, 270 pound four star center provided TDD with an update.

In general, what's been happening with your recruitment of late?

Tony Parker: Well, North Carolina has just started getting involved with me. Coach Roy Williams came down for a game and one of the assistants has come down for a couple of games as well. I've talked with them on the phone and they are basically telling me that they are trying to sign multiple bigs and soon. Yhey don't feel like they have a lot of young bigs, and I can see that they have a need for bigs, especially since Zeller and Henson are older.

What are your general thoughts on North Carolina?

First thing I think of with them is that they are usually a running team, but they do different things with their post players than other schools do. I really like North Carolina and I'm planning on visiting them for the Duke game in March at the end of the season. They've had some good bigs in their program in the past, and that's something I look at.

Duke has also been recruiting you, so same question regarding Duke.

Duke is very active in my recruitment. They've been coming down for a lot of my games this year. I've seen Coach K down for some games and it seems like Coach James is here at almost every one of my games. With Duke, they have not had a big like me in a long time. You'd have to go back to when they had guys like Boozer and Elton Brand and Shelden Williams.

With a lack of big men in a while, what are they pitching to you?

Coach K and Coach James have both told me that they need a big like me really bad, and they feel like they need a true big presence in my class and they really think I can be successful in their program.

In general, how are you evaluating the different schools and their various approaches?

I definitely have a checklist of things that I watch for with schools. A lot of what I look at is what kind of inside presence do they have already have on their teams and what do they not have. It's a real big deal to me that the schools I'm going to consider know how to utilize their bigs the right way and I watch a lot of basketball with my dad to watch teams play and how they use their bigs.

Can you elaborate on what you're looking for when you're scouting teams with your dad?

We watch a ton of games. We practically burn our DVR out, but I like to watch a lot of teams to see their sets, see how their bigs get involved in the offense, and how they move the ball as a team. Is it inside out? Do they do ball rotation? I look at everything.

My dad is real big on rebounding and positioning. He'll talk to me about how a team's bigs will move in and out of space on the floor. Like, the other day we were watching Ohio State and Sullinger moves really well without the ball, but he also posts hard, which I like.

How do the teams compare in terms of how they move their bigs around?

Well, no two teams are the same. When I watch Georgetown, they put their bigs in a facilitator role. They will be on the pinch post, they do a lot of ball reversal out of post entry pass sets. With a team like Ohio State, you can tell that their offense provides Sullinger with a lot of space, so that's something I look at to, like what kind of space do the bigs get on a team in their offense.

Turning back to the ACC schools, how do you compare and contrast Duke and UNC in terms of using their bigs?

They both are so different in their offensive systems, even down to how they run their secondary breaks. With Duke, their bigs set a lot more screens for their guards than Carolina's bigs will set for their guards. When you watch their fast breaks, Duke's bigs would get out and run to the rim a lot for easy layups, especially when Kyrie was playing before he got hurt.

When you watch Zeller and Henson, they run to seal and post hard and a lot of times Carolina's secondary break will work to get them a post touch and run some offense. It's hard to compare them because they are both so different and their guards do different things as well.

Is it more important to you to play in a system that works to get their bigs a post touch on most possessions, or do you want something different?

I think any big would be lying if they didn't want to get post touches. I mean, it's good for bigs to get regular touches, it makes you feel good as a player, makes you feel involved, I know for me, I can notice it when a team's bigs aren't getting a lot of touches, you can tell it affects them in the flow of the game and I'm no different. I want to be involved, I feel like that's how I help my team win.

What are your thoughts on the role of the point guard in relationship to your role as a post player?

I think point guards and just guards in general are a very important part of the offense and I do recognize that there are guards that can make things really easier on their teammates. Watching Kyrie Irving this year, I mean, he's just such an animal on the court and he can do so many different things. He gets his guys easy buckets and that can make a difference. I've noticed with Mason Plumlee that when Kyrie was playing, he got Mason a lot of easy buckets and now that Kyrie is out, Mason's had to work a little harder to get shots, but it's also been good to watch, you can see Mason's getting better and better as he gets more touches.

What do you think pass first point guards like a Kendall Marshall or an Aaron Craft bring to the table for their team?

I think with a guy like Kendall, I notice that he always looks up the floor and sees his guys in transition. He looks to get the outlet and pass fast to cutters or post guys. He's not as fast as Kyrie is, but Kendall is good for Carolina's system. With Aaron, he's just really steady and smart and he knows how to keep guys involved, especially Sullinger. He's a good shooter too, that helps Ohio State's offense as well.

Do you see yourself wanting to play for a program that will let you keep doing what comes natural, or do you want to play for a program that might ask you to do some things as a big that you may not have to do as a high school player?

I really want to be challenged as a player. In high school with my skill set, I can kill all day, but in college I know I won't be able to do that. I want to be pushed as a player to be great when I go to college and I want to be prepared to go to the NBA, I want to be an impact player.

Is all the recruiting attention you are getting from coaches a big deal, or is style of play more important to you?

To be honest, I do notice when coaches are in the stands at my game, but that is not what I'm going to base my decision on. I'm looking at schools and what kind of history they have with bigs, who have they had in the past and what are they doing now in developing their bigs. What their personnel is going to be is really important to me. I'm looking at what their rotation of bigs is going to be. Probably three or four bigs is a good rotation to me.

You mention history of developing bigs. Does recent history trump more distant memories for you?

I would say yes and no. It's easier for me to see with some schools what they are saying about how they would utilize me in their program because they have a more recent history of quality bigs, like Ohio State.

With a school like Duke it's a bit harder because they haven't had a big like me in a few years, so even though some schools will say that they will change if I come to their program, it is harder to look at that because they haven't had bigs like me in a while.

So would it be fair to say that Duke has ground to make up to overcome their more distant history of big guys?

I don't know if I can say that Duke has a lot of ground to make up. I'm just saying its different watching them versus a school like Ohio State or even North Carolina because those schools have had bigs more recently like Tyler Hansbrough, Greg Oden, Jared Sullinger and others.

Given the amount of scouting and research you're doing, this seems like a very business like process for you.

I think there's an element of business to it, but there's also other factors I'm looking at. I really want to play with hard working players who care about each other and I want to play on a team that wins. I do also want to be challenged and developed at the school I ultimately go to.

So what is the next step for you?

I'm going to narrow things down as the summer goes on, I'll probably take some more visits, but I'm nowhere near making a decision. I still have a lot to learn.


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