As a fan of college basketball, Virgil Parker hears the term "sixth man" a lot in reference to home court advantage.
It's no secret that a loud and boisterous home crowd can create an intimidating atmosphere and - under the right circumstances - help turn the tide in a game. Such was the case in Lawrence, Kan. on Saturday, as the 16,300 fans crammed into Allen Fieldhouse frequently pushed the noise level past 120 decibels in Kansas' thrilling overtime victory over Missouri.
On an official visit with his son, Tony Parker, one of the top big men in the Class of 2012, the elder Parker got to experience that environment first hand.
"It was just totally electric," he said. "I think that the fans won the game for the Jayhawks this weekend. I think they are the real Sixth Man when it comes to College basketball."
"I had a chance to witness what the Sixth Man was all about at that game," Parker added. "They were never out of it with that fan base. I couldn't believe it."
The duo arrived Saturday morning, as Miller Grove had a game Friday night. Father and son didn't see each other much that day, as the activities associated with such a highly-publicized game and an official visit kept Tony occupied.
However, Virgil did get a chance to speak with his son a little bit on Sunday, and said Tony came away impressed.
"We had a chance to talk at the airport," he said. "He had stated a couple of times that the fans were crazy and talked about the game, and how they treated him when he was at the Fieldhouse. It was really crazy."
While Saturday was filled with the Border War, on Sunday the two had the chance to conduct some of the more normal official visit activities. They met with the strength and conditioning staff and academic support staff to discuss their plan for Tony's future, and also spent time with Jayhawks assistant Danny Manning.
The Kansas legend and former NBA All-Star has developed a reputation as one of the top big man coaches in the game - if not the best - and Virgil said they were impressed by what he's accomplished.
"Danny Manning has done a good job with the bigs at Kansas, and he really has left his handprint all over the program as far as the bigs are concerned," he said. "You can see their development in the (Morris) Twins as well as Thomas Robinson. Tony and I both watched the Twins as freshmen and Robinson his freshman year, and you know how they have progressed over the years at Kansas."
With his final official out of the way, it looks as if a decision may not be too far in the future. Miller Grove should wrap up their season March 9, and Virgil expected a choice to be made sometime between then and the McDonald's All-American Game, which takes place Wednesday, Mar. 28.
The Jayhawks are in the mix, he said, but there's still some research to be done.
"My wife has to get in there and talk with the academic people about their plan for Tony, because it's more important for Tony to graduate," Virgil explained. "With a lot of programs, it's natural to think of them as basketball players, but we want a program to think of him as more than a basketball player. We want them to have a good plan for him to graduate."