One On One With Tony Parker

There's a lot of speculation that Tony Parker, the five star big man prospect from Georgia is in the final stages of his recruitment. On Tuesday he spoke with TDD to explain his position, reflect on the recruiting process as a whole, and offer some details on his recent visit to Durham.

Now that the recruiting process is coming to a clos, do you think there's anything that you would have changed about how you handled the recruiting process?

Tony Parker: No, I think I handled it very well. I just stayed true to myself and enjoyed the process for what it was, which is an opportunity to play basketball at a higher level than where I'm at now.

What was the most interesting thing you saw during the recruitment process?

That's a good question. I think being able to do the visits, both official and unofficial, getting to experience what being a college basketball player is like, that's the best thing, it kind of gets you out of your element a bit.

When you say it took you out of your element, was there anything you experienced that really took you out of your comfort zone in regards to your recruitment?

Not really to be honest because my thing is, everybody wants to be a basketball player, so to have the opportunity to go to college, play on a bigger stage, there's more opportunity to play against better opponents, that's a good thing in my mind.

What's the coolest thing you saw either in terms of recruiting mail or on the visits?

I think just in general the visits were all amazing. They put out the absolute best for you, especially on the officials, so getting to see what programs are all about, how much fan support the teams have, that's the coolest thing to me.

It's interesting that you characterize the visits as amazing when you've mentioned before that you were expecting the visits to all be "10's". So, going into them, what makes you say specifically that the visits were all "amazing"?

I just think it's really different, you know? When you're getting a chance to spend as much time as I have with the players, seeing what a game-day experience is like; seeing what life is like; that's just amazing to me, and I really enjoyed each school that I visited. They all showed me a great time, especially when I was hanging out with the players.

If you were giving advice to a young guy who is just starting the recruiting process, what would you say now that you've experienced being recruited at the highest levels?

I would say to just have fun, you only get to be recruited one time, so have fun, stay true to yourself, don't allow any stress to be put on you, and do your thing, make the decision that's right for you.

How do you stay, to use your words, "true to yourself" when you have the best of the best in terms of programs recruiting you?

I think the big thing is to just be honest with the coaches about where you stand. Like I know that when I'm talking with coaches, their ultimate goal is to get me to commit to their program, so I know what's real and what's recruiting tactics, so I just try to stay honest with the coaches, tell them what I like and don't like and I just listen to myself when it comes to making the decision, because all the coaches are really persuasive.

Let's talk about the Duke visit, what did you do away from the court ? Who were your hosts?

I stayed with Quinn Cook, he was my Team USA roommate last year, he's a real cool guy, I just went through the visit with the mindset of experiencing what life is like as a Duke player, especially on game day, spent a good amount of time with the players.

Did you specifically request to stay with Quinn or was it the coaching staff who set that up?

No, it was just already setup, I mean, I talk with Quinn all the time, he's my boy, it's kinda a no brainer that I would stay with him since he was my roommate with Team USA.

Was he recruiting you pretty hard to come to Duke?

Yeah, he for sure made me aware that he wanted me to come and play with him at Duke, which I was expecting him to do.

How do you handle players at school tell you they want you to play with them? I'm assuming that's happening at every school recruiting you, right?

Yeah, I mean, I'm used to that happening for sure, you just have to stay true to yourself and make the decision that's right for you.

Did you spend time with any of the other Duke players?

Yeah, I got a chance to meet Kyrie Irving and spend some time with me, he gave me some great advice, he's a really great guy.

What kind of advice did Kyrie give you?

He just basically told me to be true to myself and make the decision that was right for me and he talked with me a lot about his decision making process in coming to Duke, so that was really good.

Did Kyrie talk with you all about how Duke changed their offense to suit him? Was that of any benefit to you if he did talk about that?

Yeah, Kyrie did talk with me a little bit about that, but I could see last year in how Duke played that they did change how they ran their offense to suit Kyrie's abilities.

Does Kyrie's account play into your decision making at all?

My thing is, everybody knows how Duke plays, but I know who they are, and I know Coach K, he coaches his teams to their strengths, and that's what they have told me they would do with me if I were to come there.

How have they shown you that they would change? Is it hard to see how that would happen?

I mean, they've shown me a lot of video of how they ran their offense and defense when they had guys like Boozer, Elton Brand and other big guys that they have had, so I know they can utilize a big like me, I don't have any issues with Duke now and what they are saying to me.

Does that mean that you had issues in the past?

No, not really, because at the end of the day, it's all about winning with me and the players that are around me. I know with Duke, they've won in the past with the guys they had in their program, so I don't have any issues with Duke, they are a great program, Coach K is one of the best coaches ever.

How big a deal is the depth chart to you Tony at the schools you are looking at?

It's not a big deal for me really, because I know I can win at whatever program I decide to go to, so I'm not too worried about that stuff.

Take me through the game day experience. Did you see a practice while you were there?

Yeah, I saw a pre game practice that the team did the day of the game, it wasn't real heavy, it was mostly about getting shots up, and getting warmed up for the game.

What did you notice about the team dynamics, who was the most vocal?

All the guys were doing a lot of talking, especially the bigs, they are the backline of the defense and they did a good amount of talking.

What did you notice about the team during their game?

I noticed that they went into the big guys quite a bit. They went to them a lot on post ups, duck-ins, guys like Mason, Miles, Ryan, they all got a lot of touches down low.

Is that a good thing for you to see, or did you treat it differently since it was an exhibition game?

See, I thought it was good because it wasn't like it was a blowout until like the last 7 minutes or so of the game. At one point Duke was down 2 I think, something like 33-31, so it wasn't a wide open game.

You've said before that how a program utilizes their bigs is a big deal to you, what were your thoughts on how Duke used their bigs in the game you saw?

I think they play to their strengths, and this year, the bigs are featured because that's where they have the most experience, whereas they have some younger guards, so them going into their bigs a lot in this game is a good thing because I know they were playing to their strengths.

Aside from the game and hanging out with the players, what did you think of what you saw on the campus?

Well, the facilities are all really nice and the coaches did a good job at showing me what they have to help their players get better and develop.

What was the conversations like with Coach K and the staff?

The big thing is they didn't try to pressure me into making a decision, they said they want me to be comfortable with my decision, so I liked that. They just told me how they would play me and what kind of impact I could have on the program.

How did you receive that message?M

I'm not sure because I have to go with the place where I feel the most comfortable. With any of the programs I'm looking at, not just Duke, but everywhere, they all have great tradition, they all have guys they have put in the pros. In certain ways, it doesn't matter what coaches say to you, you have to figure out for yourself what's the best place for you.

Where do things stand now for you then? Do you think you're getting close to making the decision during the Early Signing Period?

I'm not 100% sure where I'm at with things just yet in terms of my decision, I'm not even sure I'm going to want to commit during the fall signing period, I'm still evaluating my decision and have to be 100% comfortable with it.

Does that mean that you have unanswered questions about any of the programs?

No, it's not that, I mean, I don't have any questions about programs, I just may need more time and might wait until the spring to decide, just to make sure I make the right decision.

If you decide to wait until the Spring period to sign with a program, what are you going to evaluate about the schools during the season to help you make your decision?

Well, I'm always a fan of college basketball, so I know it'd be good to watch teams play just because there's so many good teams that are recruiting me, it'll be good to see how the coaches coach their team, how they handle subbing in guys, how they communicate with their players.

Does that mean then that you need to see how teams play this year to have complete information into their style of play?

No, I mean, it's not like that, I know how teams are going to play more than likely, I'm just have no idea on how and when I want to make my decision, I really want to make sure I feel comfortable, so we'll see how it goes.

Do you have any conversations or visits set up with any programs in the next week or two?

No, I don't have anything setup right now, we'll see how things go.

So, in your mind are you definitely leaning towards waiting?

No, I'm not saying that, it's just a possibility, I just want to make sure I make the right decision and go where I'm comfortable, I have to sit down with my family and think about what's best for me.

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