Coogfans.com would like to thank Parker Pinkalla for taking the time to speak with us last night.
CF: Good evening Parker, how are thing's going?
PP: Great! It's a pleasure to speak with you.
CF: Great speaking with you as well. You did, of course, commit to The University of Houston yesterday afternoon?
PP: Yes I did. I'm really excited about it.
CF: What made you decide on UH?
PP: I really believe in Coach McCallum and his vision of winning. UH is a program on the rise and I want to be part of it. We have a chance to be part of something special in Houston like the Phi Slama Jama did with Hakeem, Clyde, Michael and the others.
CF: What made you decide to commit early?
PP: I was sure it was the place I wanted to go and I wanted to be an example to some of the other kids out there. If I could be the first straw so to speak or if I put my cards down early other players would see this and want to be part of UH too.
CF: What was the recruiting process like? A lot of pressure?
PP: I had some other schools really pressuring me to commit but UH didn't do that. I really liked Coach McCallum and the other coaches and they let me take my time and make the right decision. Some guys don't want to commit early and worry about missing a big chance somewhere else but I feel like this is my big chance, a chance to go to a great program on the rise and have an impact.
CF: What AAU team do you play for?
PP: This year I'm playing for a team called the Fort Worth Lions. I really like playing for them. It's more structured than some of the other teams that are out there, in that, they run a set offense and its not just whoever gets the ball jacks it up.
CF: What team did you play for last year?
PP: The Houston Superstars.
CF: How big are you now?
PP: I'm 6'5 and 187 pounds. I still have room to put on more muscle and I work very hard in the weight room.
CF: Do you think you'll grow any taller?
PP: I may have another inch or two left in me but I don't expect to grow anymore than that.
CF: So you won't be 7 foot like Dirk Nowitzki?
PP: (laughs) unfortunately not.
CF: How would you describe yourself as a player? Shooter, creator, rebounder…?
PP: I would say right now a shooter but I don't want to be reduced to that. I can hit the three all day but I also can break my man down off the dribble and get to the basket. I feel like I'm a pretty good passer too and I work really hard on my defense.
CF: That should be music to Coach Ray's ears. He loves defense.
PP: You have to play good defense to win. There's no way around it. I like playing defense too. A player has to play both ends.
CF: What area do you need to work on the most?
PP: Hmm. I'd probably say my rebounding. I have a tendency to leak out to quickly trying to get back down the floor to score.
CF: What style of play do you like and excel at?
PP: Well, if the point guard penetrates and dishes I can hit the open shot. I also can run and play in transition. I like both of them.
CF: You are a junior (soon to be senior) at Strake Jesuit right now. How did the past season go?
PP: We went 30-6 last year and had a pretty good season. We killed St. Thomas twice and beat Westbury Christian twice also. Strake plays as an independent so we can play a lot of different teams. The downside is we don't have anything like a state championship to play for so once the regular season is over, that's it.
CF: What kind of numbers did you put up?
PP: Around 17 points, 5 assists and 8 rebounds.
CF: What do you say to critics who are down on private school basketball and lack of competition?
PP: I can understand what they're saying. A lot of the teams we play are garbage. I mean some are good teams but some aren't really good at all. That's why it's important for a player to play AAU ball in order to play against good competition. If you can play against the best players in the nation you can play against anyone. And that's what summer teams are, the best players in the country.
CF: Who's the best player you've had a chance to play against?
PP: On a national level it would be Lebron James. We played against him in a tournament in Chicago. He can really play. On a local level I played against Daniel Gibson and the Houston Hoops about three weeks ago and was really surprised at how good he's become. I know a couple of the other guys on the team real well and knew they could play but Daniel is so quick with the ball and can shoot and pass great.
CF: Thanks a lot for speaking with us Parker. Coogfans is delighted to have you as part of your family and we look forward to speaking with you again later in the summer.
Strake Jesuit Junior SG Parker Pinkalla
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