NBAPA: Tony Parker Extended Interview

In the opening round of contests Thursday, Duke big man target Tony Parker found himself matched up against 6-foot-9, 280 pound Texas center Shaquille Cleare. Afterwards he spoke with TDD about everything from high level competition at the NBAPA to his recruiting.

How was it matching up against Cleare? From the sidelines it looked like a heavyweight fight.

Tony Parker: Shaq's a great player. He's extremely hard to get around, and he brings out the best in you as a player.

You were going for the turnaround jumper and reverse counter jump hook a lot, was that a matchup decision or something else?

Those are the shots that Shaq is going to give you when we match up. He's just so physical, and it's almost impossible to just dominate him physically, so I had to bring a bit of a finesse game to mix it up, give him different looks and get him in foul trouble.

You've got another tilt tomorrow morning with Andre Drummond. What are your thoughts going into the matchup?

I'm looking forward to that a great deal. I've got another great big next to me in Ricardo Gathers, so we're looking forward to taking him on, should be a lot of fun.

What's the transition like going from Coach James to Coach Capel being the primary recruiter for you at Duke?

It's not really a huge transition with Coach Capel being the primary guy recruiting me now, both him and Coach James are great guys and I feel real comfortable with them as a program. I'm familiar with Coach Capel from USA Basketball and I'm even more comfortable with Duke now that they have been recruiting me for awhile and with Coach Capel being my primary recruiter.

Duke and Ohio State have been quoted as your Top 2, what makes them stand out for you to say they are your "top two"?

They are both just really great schools academically, and they have very strong basketball programs. And those schools have both really been on my case in recruiting. I also have my Top Five right now being Duke, Ohio State, Memphis, Kansas and Texas.

Both Duke and Ohio State can point to big men they have had in the past in terms of developing them, does that make the comparison easier for you in terms of how you'd be developed in their programs?

Yes. I mean, you have to study every program, because every big school is going to have had bigs that they developed that came out and went pro, so I have to stay true to my game and see where I'd fit. With Ohio State, they are more known for having power bigs, strong bigs who can flex out and be physical, Texas is another school known for having strong bigs, and Kansas is another school that's really known for developing strong bigs

Does Coach Capel's addition to the Duke staff do anything for them in terms of Duke's recruitment of you?

It really does because he's been a Head Coach, you know? I know that because he's got head coaching experience that he's going to be an excellent assistant coach at Duke with Coach K. He's going to be really good for them, he's a strong man, he demands a lot of you, it just adds a lot to Duke's recruitment of me, they've been doing a great job.

Does Coach Capel having coached Blake Griffin affect things at all for you?

No, they haven't made that comparison, and I'm ok with that. I'm not Blake Griffin, never will be. He's a great player, he did a lot for NBA Basketball in his rookie year, I'm nowhere near where Blake Griffin is as a player. Coach Capel certainly helped developed him as a player and person when he was Oklahoma and I'm sure that he'll give me some of the same coaching pointers that he gave to Blake, it's the same thing with Coach K with all the pros he's got that he developed into NBA Players.

How are you benefitting from being exposed to the NBA guys here at camp?

It's been really great, Steve Blake from the Lakers is one of my coaches and he's been giving me a lot of tips on how to make myself a good target for guards to give post entry passes to me and also on how I can gain confidence in my guards and what they are doing.

What's the conversation like for you now with Duke since they have been recruiting you for awhile?

You know, Duke doesn't really need to sell themselves as a program with me. They are all great coaches and even greater guys, so we just talk normal with each other. When I get there…if I go there, you know it's going to be a totally different story because of what I bring to the table as a player, so right now it's just all about developing the relationship with them.

You have more visits coming up?

Yeah I think so, I just got back from Memphis, that was a real cool visit and I'm trying to get to Ohio State for my visit before I make any decision.

What are your thoughts on Jared Sullinger coming back for a 2nd year?

I've talked with Jared before, and he's a great guy and a great player. I know that he returned for his 2nd year because he wanted to get better as a player and if he's staying there, there's obviously something special they have going on there for him to turn down the #1 overall pick.

Do you see yourself being a player that spends several years in college?

My mindset is I just want to go to college, have fun, really get better in my game, college can do a lot for you as a player and I've seen how it's benefitted players in the past and I think it's going to be a really fun experience for me where I can work on my skills.

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