Boys Player of the Year: Tony Parker proves his point

In middle school, Tony Parker wasn’t the person people expected to start on four high school state championship basketball teams. Some even wondered if he’d make his high school team.

Parker was 6-foot-3 and nearly 300 pounds — in the seventh grade.

“I wasn’t always as slim as I am now,’’ Parker said. “I averaged around four points a game. When I scored, the crowd went crazy. That’s how horrible I was. Me and my dad [Virgil Parker] used to be in the gym, and people would come by and say, ‘Oh, you got you a lineman out there.’

“But I kept playing … and I kept playing. It gave me lot of ambition to prove to people that I really was a basketball player.’’

If there were ever a time to gloat, it’s now. Parker is The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s state Player of the Year.

Parker is 6-9, 270 pounds, or maybe a little heavier when wearing four Class AAAA championship rings. No other Georgia player has been a starter on four state champions since Dontonio Wingfield of Albany’s Westover High in 1990-93.

“There were a lot of naysayers,’’ Miller Grove coach Sharman White said. “Everybody thought he was going to be one of those oversized post kids. He ate those words for motivation. His determination to be the best was what stood out about him. His work ethic was unbeatable.’’

As a senior, Parker averaged 16.6 points, 11.0 rebounds and 3.0 blocked shots against perhaps the nation’s toughest schedule. Miller Grove (24-9) played Oak Hill of Virginia, St. Anthony’s of New Jersey and Simeon of Illinois, teams that finished in the top 10 of every national poll.

Parker led Miller Grove to four tight victories against Class AAAA runner-up Southwest DeKalb, which featured his McDonald’s All-America teammate Shaq Goodwin and Auburn-signee Jordan Price. In the championship game, Parker was at his best, scoring 21 points with 13 rebounds.

“I just know I wanted to win,’’ Parker said. “Winning was most important thing for me coming in as a freshman. I was coming into a program with eight seniors [including Georgia Tech basketball player Mfon Udofia and former Tech football player Stephen Hill] that had just lost in the Final Four. They were hungry, and that was huge to me. That’s the hungriest guys I’ve ever played with. That just stayed with me through workouts, practice and in the classroom.’’

Parker has become fitter, leaner and stronger each season. He gives credit to a personal trainer, Kevin Peeples.

As perhaps Georgia’s top senior prospect, Parker is close to a college decision. His finalists are Duke, Ohio State, Kansas, UCLA, Georgetown, Memphis and Georgia. He might make an announcement at the McDonald’s All-Star Game in Chicago on Wednesday. If not, he’ll wait to do it at Miller Grove.

He has a story to tell. It might inspire somebody, he said.

“I want people at my school to be able to come see what it looks like to realize that dream,’’ Parker said, “and how hard you have to work to get there.’’

24 comments Add your comment

DekalbFB1

March 23rd, 2012
6:21 pm

Congrats to TP on a wonderful HS career. Good and have fun @ the McD All Star game. Take your time on your decision about the college for BB!!!

BigDawg

March 23rd, 2012
9:18 pm

Sounds similar to the story of Hershel Walker in football! Come and be another Great Dawg!

canman

March 23rd, 2012
9:44 pm

Hope you will join the Dawgs. You are the missing link to bringing Georgia to national prominence and your family could be right there.

Chuck-UGA

March 23rd, 2012
11:14 pm

Tony,
Come make history at UGA. You would rank up there with Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins who resurrected the Georgia basketball program (along with his teammates) from rock bottom. Georgia was last in the SEC for years until then, but no more. Let’s take the next step together and get Georgia into the Elite where they belong. The talent is there!

Mr. Wolverine

March 23rd, 2012
11:57 pm

Tony, Mr. Georgia, I salute you. Well deserved honor, for a great young man. You cemented your legacy as one of the greatest in Georgia High School Basketball history.

turd ferguson

March 24th, 2012
12:43 am

dont go to GA if you want to win another Championship.

DeKalbistheGreatest

March 24th, 2012
1:10 am

At 6′ 3″ 300lbs. in the 7th grade. Wow!!!!!!! What middle school?

BJohnDawg

March 24th, 2012
1:57 am

Great story! Great Accomplishment!
Hope you choose Athens, but
Best of Luck Tony no matter where you go!

Michael

March 24th, 2012
7:48 am

Tony please stay home. Help put UGA back on the map for Basketball.I would love to cheer for you in person. Coach Fox is a great man and great coach. If you don’t choose UGA good luck. You seem like a great kid with a good head on his shoulders.

MemphisTiger

March 24th, 2012
8:04 am

Tony…the great Tiger fans want you to go to Memphis and see what real passion for a program is.
There are things that go together like peanut butter & jelly, night & day, and Tony Parker & Memphis.
Just think of the marketing: TONY THE TIGER. With the firepower returning next year you and Shaq will make us a top 10 team .

Coach

March 24th, 2012
8:13 am

I have always followed high school basketball but it has been a while since I have seen a player that captivated my attention like Tony Parker. I truly think we have seen only a glimpse of what he is developing into because of his passion and level of commitment to being the best. He is a breathe of fresh air not only because of his physical size but because he has the mind and spirit of a gentle giant that gravitates people to want to see him succeed. He has truly conducted himself in a manner that needs to be passed down to others who endeavor to reach their own personal goals and inspire others as much to do the same. Congrats Tony, I look forward to watching you play in college and then one day I will purchase the NBA Package from my local cable station to watch you play as a true professional in every sense of the word.

[...] Boys Player of the Year: Tony Parker proves his point March 23, 2012, by Todd Holcomb In middle school, Tony Parker wasn?t the person people expected to start on four high school state championship basketball teams. Some even wondered if he?d make his high school team. Parker was 6-foot-3 and nearly 300 pounds ? in the seventh grade. ?I wasn?t always as slim as I am now,?? Parker said. ?I averaged around four points a game. When I scored, the crowd went crazy. That?s how horrible I was. Me and my dad [Virgil Parker] used to be in the gym, and people would come by and say, ?Oh, you got you a lineman out there.? ?But I kept playing ? and I kept playing. It gave me lot of ambition to prove to people that I really was a basketball player.?? If there were ever a time to gloat, it?s now. Parker is The Atlanta Journal-Constitution?s state Player of the Year. Parker is 6-9, 270 pounds, or maybe a little heavier when wearing four Class AAAA championship rings. No other Georgia player has been a starter on four state champions since Dontonio Wingfield of Albany?s Westover High in 1990-93. ?There were a lot of naysayers,?? Miller Grove coach Sharman White said. ?Everybody thought he was going to be one of those oversized post kids. He ate those words for motivation. His determination to be the best was what stood out about him. His work ethic was unbeatable.?? As a senior, Parker averaged 16.6 points, 11.0 rebounds and 3.0 blocked shots against perhaps the nation?s toughest schedule. Miller Grove (24-9) played Oak Hill of Virginia, St. Anthony?s of New Jersey and Simeon of Illinois, teams that finished in the top 10 of every national poll. Parker led Miller Grove to four tight victories against Class AAAA runner-up Southwest DeKalb, which featured his McDonald?s All-America teammate Shaq Goodwin and Auburn-signee Jordan Price. In the championship game, Parker was at his best, scoring 21 points with 13 rebounds. ?I just know I wanted to win,?? Parker said. ?Winning was most important thing for me coming in as a freshman. I was coming into a program with eight seniors [including Georgia Tech basketball player Mfon Udofia and former Tech football player Stephen Hill] that had just lost in the Final Four. They were hungry, and that was huge to me. That?s the hungriest guys I?ve ever played with. That just stayed with me through workouts, practice and in the classroom.?? Parker has become fitter, leaner and stronger each season. He gives credit to a personal trainer, Kevin Peeples. As perhaps Georgia?s top senior prospect, Parker is close to a college decision. His finalists are Duke, Ohio State, Kansas, UCLA, Georgetown, Memphis and Georgia. He might make an announcement at the McDonald?s All-Star Game in Chicago on Wednesday. If not, he?ll wait to do it at Miller Grove. He has a story to tell. It might inspire somebody, he said. ?I want people at my school to be able to come see what it looks like to realize that dream,?? Parker said, ?and how hard you have to work to get there.?? http://blogs.ajc.com/georgia-high-sc…ves-his-point/ [...]

Donald

March 24th, 2012
9:37 am

First of all, congratulations to TP on being player of the year. Now, hopefully he will take the challenge along with some of the other top seniors and stay home to help build a basketball powerhouse at Georgia. Do not be another frontrunner. UGA is only a couple of quality players from being players on the national scene. Add you to the current returning Bulldog squad and UGA is easily a 25-27 win squad next year. Kentavious started the pipeline last year. You have a chance to keep it going and build something truly special in Athens–and all of your family and friends will get to see you do it.

As a side note, the athletic program and the entire state of Georgia need to get behind the d@#n basketball programs so our top recruits will stop leaving the state. We have lost enough top 10, 20, and 50 players the last five years to have built two solid programs. Unless UGA demonstrates the same passion for basketball that we obviously have for football, the trend will continue.

DC

March 26th, 2012
9:10 am

I’m one of the biggest Duke fans, (Georgia a kind of close second), but I would love for this kid to stay in-state and not follow the trend to the big schools. Make Georgia the big school because you’re there Mr. Parker. Either way, best of luck upon your decision. Go Dawgs!

Eagle Fan

March 26th, 2012
9:53 am

Good luck Tony. I’ve enjoyed watching you play over the years. I had faith in you in the earlier years and knew you would grow into the awesome player you are!

RAIDER FAN

March 26th, 2012
11:58 am

Congrats to TP it proves if you work hard you can achieve your goals what is amazing though no body mentioned that his gpa is over a 3.0 perfect example of student athlete the skies the limit

jesus

March 26th, 2012
4:27 pm

Stephenson Middle

white

March 26th, 2012
8:52 pm

then redan middle his 8th grade year

G-dub

March 28th, 2012
4:52 pm

CONGRATS TP look forward to watching you in college

Mark

March 28th, 2012
9:52 pm

It’s funny that these people think that he will sign with the Dawgs. Parker is one of the top 20 players in HS nation. He can go to a lot of places. Since you get at most 5 years from redshirt (3 if you want to get drafted well) I think he may want to focus on being in the Final Four than trying to rebuild a horrible progam to get to just the tourtament it self. I respect Gorgia’s football program it is amazing but the Basketball program is in a bad trench that doesnt look attractive to a great player.

ron

March 31st, 2012
10:02 pm

Stay away from uga if you want to go to the next level,stay away period.

gary

April 1st, 2012
3:57 pm

Young Mr Parker,your mere presencce would change the UGA basketball,classy young man who stayed home to play for a young inspiring great coach,it would open the door for other player like yourself,UGA would become an plce to be and it would be where ESPN HANGS OUT BECAUSE YOU CHANGED THE PROGRAM,Look forward for you coming to UGA, see you soon

Really

April 3rd, 2012
11:20 am

I been following Georgia High School basketball since the late 80s and this guy ranks as one of my all time favorites. I really look forward to seeing what he will do on the next level. Great High School Career Tony Parker.

Ad astra per aspera

Rich Tucker Tiger

April 17th, 2012
9:57 am

Tony be smart son its Duke or UCLA at this point, Danny Manning laving makes Kansas a no go and UGA is a great school and all gotta love the Dawgs but you playing basketball not football