The ‘Facilitator' Can Score Too

Chandler Parsons was the first ever Florida Gator to win the SEC Player of the Year as voted on by the league coaches. He won the award despite not finishing in the top 20 in scoring, a rare feat for the winner of the award. But, it was everything else that Parsons did that grabbed the attention of the conference coaches. The NBA is noticing too, but he plans on showing them he can score too.

For a team that had scorers inside and out, Chandler Parsons was often the guy that was asked to deliver the ball. A 6-9 forward that finished fifth in the SEC in assists, Parsons often found teammates Vernon Macklin, Alex Tyus, and Patric Young inside, or would dish outside to hot shooting guards Kenny Boynton and Erving Walker. A player with an eye for the rim, Parsons could have scored more, but he was all about the team and getting the win. This is what made him the league's MVP.

"I think I am definitely a capable scorer, but I am very unselfish," Parsons said this week while in the midst of heavy workouts in preparation for the NBA combine. "I am a facilitator and can do a little everything on the basketball court. I can play all five positions… obviously I wouldn't play the five in the NBA. I think coaches realize that I played the game the right way. Even though I didn't lead the league in scoring I think coaches saw all of that and respected that."

Florida head coach Billy Donovan knows Parsons can shoot. He made national headlines twice as a junior hitting long game winning shots with time running out on the clock. He was asked to be the man taking the last shot many times over his career. There has never been any doubt in his own mind that he can take the shot.

"I am a clutch player," Parsons said. "I have been through a lot of things in four years. I am very comfortable with the ball in my hand. I think my teammates trusted me and I just tried to make the right play every time."

Since his college career ended Parsons has been out to show scouts that he can do all of those things that they may not understand that he can do.

"I think they are going to realize a little of everything and that I can shoot the ball better than people expected," Parsons said of upcoming workouts he will have. "I really adjusted well to the NBA three-point line and am shooting well. I have gotten stronger, gotten faster, I'm playing a lot better defense, I'm still facilitating the ball, passing the ball and playing with a high IQ. For these teams to see me up close and in person I think they are going to be impressed."

He is now up to 222 pounds, which he weighed in at the NBA combine. Listed at 6-8.75, Parsons is certainly a novelty in terms of a player with his size that can pass the ball and do other things as well as he can. Now, he just has to show the folks that might want to make him a part of their team, and that is a lot of work.

"It's a grind right now," he said. "It is an exciting process, but it is tough. My body is very sore and I am working out very hard and six days a week. This next five weeks I will do more traveling than I ever have in my life hitting all these different cities.

"Three days ago I was in California, then Oklahoma and now I'm in Chicago. Basically it is a grind and I have been working out for the last month and a half in either Chicago or L.A. working on my conditioning and my long game. I have been working on the things that the NBA presents different from college… like the three point line, the defensive three seconds, playing defense, and working on my post game to shooting and conditioning. I am just working on all parts of my game so I can get in the best shape of my life so by the time the NBA workouts come, they are easy.

"The traveling is very hard every day I am getting new information and it is draining. It is an exciting time and at the same time I have never eaten this good in my life and after every day and the workouts I don't want to do anything. I basically take a shower and get to bed. Even if I wanted to go out and see these cities, my body is telling me no."

According to Parsons, he won't work out for every team, targeting instead where they believe he will move up to once he really gets noticed in workouts.

"My agent is scheduling me to work out for teams in the teens from the low teens to the end of the first round," Parsons said. "There are teams all over the board. All the feedback has been great. "I can do between 12-15 workouts, that is what my agent will say. He gave my schedule today and there are four on there for sure. I think after the group workout, I think it will change a lot. He didn't want me to have a lot of dates set in stone until after everyone sees me in Chicago and LA. I have gotten a lot better and bigger and think people will be really impressed when they see me."

Parsons says that his career at Florida has really prepared him for this time in his life. As much as he has upped his conditioning and body prep, the practice time he spent at Florida was as good as anyone will get at the college level.

"They have been great," Parsons said about the basketball and training he received at Florida. "First of all their workouts and practices are extremely hard. It isn't like I am going into practices seeing anything I haven't seen before. Coach Donovan has me prepared for everything I may get hit with, I just think I am more mature person and a better player and ready for the next level. Basically everything he has done while I have been there has helped me."

And throughout, his career was one that improved every year he was at Florida. The team also progressed throughout his career. It was his final season that the gators found themselves playing in the Elite Eight, that Parsons calls the best year of his time at Florida.

"I think this past year, making the run in the tournament," he said about his favorite year. "Obviously it didn't end the way we wanted it to end, we wanted to play in the Final Four. We wanted to play for a national championship.

"I think looking back on this season we really did some special things. We swept Tennessee, we swept Vanderbilt, and we won an SEC Championship. It was the first time we had a Player of the Year and the first time that Coach Donovan won the Coach of the Year. Looking back on it we did some special things this year and that is what made it so special for me.


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