Parker Updates Recruitment, Talks Buckeyes

Though anything is possible, it isn't likely that Ohio State will have Jared Sullinger on its basketball roster into his junior season. Perhaps that's why they're hot on the trail of one of the best high school big men in the country.

When Jared Sullinger spurned what would have likely been a high lottery pick in the NBA Draft in favor of returning for his sophomore season at Ohio State, it was a gift for the Buckeyes.

That, coupled with where he's currently projected in comparison to other college basketball players, some would say that likelihood of Sullinger returning to Ohio State for his junior season are slim to none.

Perhaps that's the reason the Buckeyes have been hot on the trail of Lithonia (Ga.) Miller Grove's Tony Parker, perhaps the most dominant big man in the 2012 recruiting class.

"(Ohio State) has recruited me the same throughout the process," said the 6-9, 250-pound Parker, explaining why the Buckeyes are high on his list. "They stayed on me really, really hard. They have produced good bigs and have a history of doing that."

Perhaps one of the most coveted high school players in the country, Parker is rated as a five-star recruit and is ranked No. 20 overall in Scout.com's Top 100 list for the 2012 recruiting class.

Parker, who in the process racked up over 30 scholarship offers from schools all over the country, has since narrowed down his list to six schools, Ohio State being one of them.

The Buckeyes will have stiff competition, however, as Parker is still considering Duke, Memphis, Georgetown, UCLA, and Kansas. While setting up visits is still a work in progress, Parker will visit Ohio State Sept. 9.

"I am just looking for a great school with a great school with a great atmosphere," Parker said. "I want a place I can have fun. I want a good academic school and a good place to play basketball, and I hope my parents will feel comfortable with me being there, too."

Parker said he is equally considering all schools, maintaining "they are all on the same playing field right now."

One of the things that has stood out to Parker about Ohio State is the program's proven track record of developing NBA talent at his position. Right now Sullinger carries the Buckeyes, but former big men Greg Oden and B.J. Mullens were drafted in the first round following their freshman seasons at Ohio State.

What Ohio State has most recently done with Sullinger — the reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Year — has really stood out to Parker.

"Jared Sullinger is a great player and he has done great things at Ohio State and he is going to do great things this year," Parker said. "I think he plays really hard and the Ohio State coaches found a way to get him the ball and really helped him out a lot.

"With Coach (Jeff) Boals and Coach (Dave) Dickerson, they did a really good job coaching Jared Sullinger up because he had a really great year behind a really great coaching staff.

"I wouldn't say modeling my game, but I work on my skills. I look up to him, I see what he does in games, and I try to make sure I am playing as hard as him because he plays very, very hard and strong."

Parker, who seems to be itching closer to making a decision, hopes to continue building a diverse skill set so he's ready once making a college choice to adapting to the next level.

In doing so, a lot of time in the gym has been a must.

"I am shooting the 15 and 16-foot jump shot really well," Parker said. "I am making my turnaround jump shot really well, too, and I am rebounding pretty good. I just like to play hard, push myself, and try to get wins."

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