Getting to Know Chandler Parsons

It's no secret that one of the reasons why coach Greg Schiano has succeeded in completely turning around the Rutgers Scarlet Knights once-moribund football program has been by successfully recruiting the ultra talent-rich state of Florida.

While the level of basketball talent in the Sunshine State doesn't usually equal football's level, it appears as if Scarlet Knights basketball coach Fred Hill is taking a page from the Schiano playbook by attempting to lure one of Florida's top high-school talents to the Banks. SOR caught up with this rapidly rising senior to find out how the recruiting process is going and to see if Rutgers indeed has a shot.

To say that Chandler Parsons stock has risen this summer would be putting it mildly. The versatile 6'9 forward now has offers from LSU, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Indiana, Wisconsin, Virginia Tech, Miami, Arizona State, and Rutgers – and, he says, there are more. "I just can't remember them all now", he said. Parsons suddenly finds himself inundated with offers after an extremely impressive showing at the Nike All-American camp in Indianapolis last week.

Parsons stated that he has worked extremely hard to change and to develop his game, and with the recent deluge of offers a testament to that effort, his hard work has certainly paid off. "I used to just shoot a lot to try and take over a game", he said. "Now I can do a lot more things". The versatile 6'9 forward (who may still be growing) said that, "with bigger people I can take them off the dribble. The smaller guys, I can just shoot over them".

Parsons also stated the he can play 3 positions – 2 guard, small forward, and power forward – and can even fill in at the point if necessary. Not surprisingly then, when asked if one of the skills he possesses in his vast repertoire is the ability to play off the ball and set people up, he said: "Oh definitely – I can pass". It is those passing skills, combined with his deft shooting touch, ball-handling skills, and work ethic, which has made him such an intriguing prospect - with perhaps the biggest upside of all players in the class of 2007. (Indeed, all that seems left for him to do is put on weight.)

While Parsons had once hoped to sign early, he said that now "I don't see it happening". He states that the recruiting process "has been fun". "It's been really hectic, but I'm just enjoying it at the moment", he said. After things settle down a bit, and he has a chance to sort things out, and after school resumes July 31st, he said he will then have a chance to figure out which schools he'll want to visit. "I want to see the campuses and try to get comfortable with them, and see which one will be the best fit for me", he said.

So of course there are questions that Rutgers fans would like to know. One, has this young man from Florida ever been to the Northeast before?

"My girlfriend and I took a drive up to New York about 6 months ago", he said. "She wanted to go by Rutgers and see it. We didn't really tour the campus, just drove by".

Two, is joining Rutgers to battle in perhaps the nations toughest conference, against storied programs led by coaching legends such as Jim Boeheim at Syracuse, Jim Calhoun at Uconn, and Rick Pitino at Louisville, a possibility?

"Rutgers is definitely a possibility", he said. "The Big East is maybe the best conference in the country and it's a great opportunity".

Finally, how exactly has Rutgers gotten itself into the mix with this top Florida prospect? Is Fred Hill really making a concerted effort to now recruit the state, or is there something more to this?

Chandler Parsons cleared it up: "My grandfather Don Parsons went to Rutgers and played basketball there", he said. Don Parsons did indeed play on the Banks from 1946-1950. He finished with a career scoring average of 14.8 points per game and is in a select group, being one of the 20 players from Rutgers that have been drafted by the NBA. He was a sixth-round selection by the New York Knicks in 1950.

Nothing would make Scarlet Knight fans more ecstatic than Chandler Parsons deciding that Rutgers basketball is a family tradition.

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