Thanks to class of 2012 power forward Tony Parker (#15) for doing the interview with us. The 6’9, 285-pound big man talked to us about his favorite schools, favorite coaching staff and much more.
Ohio State, Duke, Memphis, Texas, Kansas and UConn. Duke, Ohio State and Memphis are my top three.
What separates those three schools from the rest?
They’ve been recruiting me the hardest, they have great basketball programs and they have great basketball atmospheres.
What are you looking for in a school?
I’m looking for an all around good school that’s a good place to play basketball, has a good environment and is a good place to learn – academics are definitely important.
Who have you visited so far and how did they go?
Duke and Memphis this summer, Ohio State during the school year. They were all great visits, they all have great schools and really good coaching staffs. Ohio State has really done a good job with [sophomore center] Jared Sullinger and [head coach] Thad Matta did a job with Ohio State this year. Memphis is an up-and-coming program, they did a really good job with a young team. Duke’s teams always seem to succeed, they’re history is just really good. They were all good, they’re probably about equal.
Do you want to take any more visits?
I’ll probably take visit to UConn soon, they’re starting to recruit me harder. It’s a pretty good situation with [sophomore center] Alex Oriakhi and those guys.
What type of playing style do you want to play in at college?
Just a good pace and up-tempo offense because I like to run the floor. A team that plays hard on defense and is a scrappy team.
Who fits that style the best in your mind?
Memphis probably fits it best, Ohio State fits it second-best and Duke is probably last. Of course UConn fits it perfect.
You mentioned Jared Sullinger earlier, is that the type of big man you model yourself after?
Jared Sullinger is a great big man, he’s done a in college basketball and there will probably never be another Jared Sullinger. But he is a good big to model my game after so he’s great to take tips from. He’s a cool guy.
What are schools telling you when they recruit you?
Ohio State pitches the bigs they’ve had, Duke pitches [Chicago Bull power forward] Carlos Boozer and [Philadelphia 76er power forward] Elton Brand and Memphis is pitching their style of play. They’re really doing a good job with [sophomore forward] Tarik Black, I think he’s going to have a big year this year.
Are any older high school or college guys recruiting you?
Jared Sullinger is recruiting me hard, he’s just telling me it’s a great school and he loves the atmosphere. He says they’ve been great for him and he loves Ohio State and if he didn’t he would have left. He talks about how great it is to be a player there and what it’s like to be loved by the fans.
Is anyone else recruiting you?
No one else is really recruiting me like that. Me and Oriakhi are close but UConn just started picking up their recruitment of me so I’m pretty sure he’ll start recruiting me in the near future. I talk to [North Carolina point guard] Kendall Marshall a lot but North Carolina isn’t recruiting me that hard. Kendall is but I don’t know if he doesn’t know that yet or what.
You said earlier in the summer that [class of 2012 shooting guard] Rasheed Sulaimon (#14 — Duke) was recruiting you hard, is that still the case?
Rasheed is always on my case, he’s a good kid and a good player. He’s a really good guard and he’s always pitching Duke to me, always.
Do those recruiting pitches affect your recruitment?
It’s cool that I get to talk to Sullinger and Oriahki and they reach out to me. You take what you can from them and you listen because they’re at the school and you aren’t. You listen to everything they say.
I didn’t have a favorite team, I just liked to watch good basketball and good rivalries. I liked to watch UConn and Georgetown and North Carolina.
Which coaching staff do you have the best relationship with?
Probably [Memphis head] coach [Josh] Pastner, [assistant] coach [Jack] Murphy and [assistant] coach [Damon] Stoudamire. Those are really player’s coaches. You can talk to them about anything, it’s just easier to have a better relationship with them because you can relate to them more.
Has any coaching change affected your recruitment?
The Bruce Pearl one was big, they were in my top three before that happened. Now they’re low on my list.
Which fan base is recruiting you the hardest? Does it mean anything to you?
It’s definitely Duke or Memphis, it’s just kind of cool, it doesn’t really mean anything.
What has been your favorite part of the recruiting process?
Just the whole experience, because you only get to go through it once. To experience it is really cool.
What has been the coolest moment of your recruitment?
I really don’t know, I can’t do anything anyone else can’t do so if it were that good it would probably be illegal (laughing).
Who has helped you the most in the recruiting process?
My mom and my dad, mostly my dad. Just on the basketball side they’ve really pushed me and I can talk to them about the different schools.
What’s one thing people probably don’t know about you?
I’m really playful, I like to play around and have fun. I’m only serious on the court.
What advice would you give younger basketball players?
Stay away from the media (laughing), but really, just play your game, don’t let hype get to you. Just play basketball, work hard and have fun. Remember at the end of the day that’s it just a game and to have fun.