Tony Parker: Will UGA pull off one of biggest recruiting UPSETS in years?

Tony Parker prediction?

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UGA appears to be in prime position to pull off one of the biggest recruiting upsets in the history of the school’s basketball program.

McDonald’s All-American Tony Parker has the Bulldogs among his finalists, along with Duke, Ohio State, Kansas, UCLA, Memphis and Georgetown. Parker is an Atlanta schoolboy legend, leading Miller Grove High School to four straight state championships in basketball.

The 6-foot-9, 280-pound Parker is ranked by ESPNU as the nation’s No.  21 overall basketball prospect.

Duke’s Mike Krzyzewksi is scheduled to be at Miller Grove on Thursday, and Ohio State’s Thad Matta may visit on Friday. UCLA coach Ben Howland met with Parker on Tuesday.

“My recruiting is going pretty steady,” Parker told the AJC. “My family and I are starting to narrow it down, really getting to the nitty gritty on picking a school and deciding which one fits me the best.”

Much to everyone’s surprise, that school may end up being UGA. Parker took an unofficial visit to both UGA and Georgia Tech earlier this year, but most considered the Bulldogs an afterthought with so many basketball heavyweights involved. While Parker claims no favorite, he made it clear this week that he’s seriously considering UGA.

“Georgia is a great school, and I think Coach Mark Fox is doing a great job,” Parker said. “They really achieved great things this year with the team that they had. I think it’s great that Coach Fox is ranked No. 1 in player development [by the website TheRealGM.com]. I think he does a lot for ‘bigs’ [big men], and he has a great offense for ‘bigs,’ too.

“When he had Trey Thompkins, Coach Fox did a lot of things for his game and made Trey look really good … Georgia has been in there the whole time with me. Coach Fox is a persistent guy.”

Could UGA beat out Duke, Kansas and Ohio State for Atlanta schoolboy legend Tony Parker? Brandon Morris (second from left) has already signed with UGA, while Parker (No. 32) is thinking about it (AJC)

Could UGA beat out Duke, Kansas and Ohio State for Atlanta schoolboy legend Tony Parker? Brandon Morris (second from left) has already signed with UGA, while Parker (No. 32) is thinking about it (AJC)

One of UGA’s biggest advantages with Parker is that two of his state championship teammates from Miller Grove will be playing for the Bulldogs next year: Swingman Brandon Morris signed with UGA last November in the early period and will be a freshman next year, while Donte Williams will be a junior forward.

“Yes, that definitely helps with Donte and Brandon being at Georgia; I won state championships with each of them,” Parker said. “They are both great people, and really good players. They both have great character, and playing with them in high school has been wonderful … so it really puts me in position to go to Georgia.

“All of us played under [Miller Grove coach Sharman White], and he instilled things in us like hard work, playing hard-nosed defense and being a team player. Those are things I will take with me for as long I play the game.”

If Parker ended up at UGA, he would be the first McDonald’s All-America at the power forward or center position to sign with the Bulldogs in 20 years – since Carlos Strong in 1992. The only other one to sign and play for the Bulldogs during the last two decades — at any position for UGA — was last year with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

What appeals to Parker about UGA?

“Coach Fox is really doing a great job with developing players,” Parker said. “They don’t really have a ‘big’ right now. Donte is always texting me about him playing out of position. I know they really need a big body down there, someone who can really bang and guard different ‘bigs.’ I know that’s what they need.

“That’s what they want, somebody who can get in the post, shoot and score consistently. They have really been pushing that with me. You’ve got Kentavious already there. Then with Brandon Morris, Kenny Gaines and Charles Mann, that’s a big and stout 2012 [recruiting class] class. Coach Fox thinks I would cap it off perfectly.”

Duke's Mike Krzyzewski is scheduled to be at Miller Grove on Thursday (AP)

Duke's Mike Krzyzewski is scheduled to be at Miller Grove on Thursday (AP)

Parker said he never took an official visit to UGA because it was so close – only 45 minutes from his home in DeKalb County. He saved his official visits for the far-away schools but has visited UGA several times within the last year, including a pair of games during the season. Distance could figure into Parker’s college decision, although he’s not sure how much.

“My thought on that is that I think I will be successful wherever I go,” Parker said. “I think for my family, UGA would be great. I think for the people at my school and for the people that support Miller Grove basketball, it would be great. You know, they would all only have to drive 45 minutes to see me play.

“They always talk about me going to Georgia and how they could easily come to my games. A lot of people in Georgia are really very much in favor of me siging with Georgia. But to me, distance doesn’t really matter. I know I will see my parents. My parents will come see me wherever I go.”

Here’s a few more questions for Parker:

  • How do you reflect on your decision to not sign in the early period? “I really do think waiting until after the season was a big thing for me, to be able to dissect the schools and see what they do. I got to see how coaches respond in different situations and see how the players interact. Is it really a family there? I think that was big for me to watch these schools during their season and see what they do  … how they run their offense and defense, how the coach runs certain plays, how the coach reacts to tough times. It really helped me.”
  • How much pressure are you feeling about the decision? “Not much at all. I know my college choice is going to be my decision. I think I’m going to make a great decision at the end of the day.”
  • Who is your leader? “I don’t have a leader yet. When I have a leader, everybody will know because I will put on their hat.”
Tony Parker said he will probably visit UGA one more time before announcing his college decision in early April (AJC)

Tony Parker said he will probably visit UGA one more time before announcing his college decision in early April (AJC)

What’s next for Parker? He will leave on Saturday for the McDonald’s All-America game, which will be televised by ESPN at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday. Southwest DeKalb High School’s Shaq Goodwin, who signed with Memphis, has also been selected for the all-star game.

Parker considered making his college decision during the ESPN telecast but will likely wait and do it at Miller Grove in early April. The late signing period begins on April 11.

“I’ll probably wait,” Parker said. “We have such wonderful support at Miller Grove, and I want all my teammates, friends, family and classmates to be there. I want all the kids to come out and see that a lot of hard work and ambition can get them to a great point, too. I always want to give back to community because they’ve helped me so much to get to where I am now. I’m very blessed.”

What do we think? Mark Fox, who is personally handling Parker’s recruiting, deserves credit for UGA being a finalist because we never saw this coming. Has Duke ever lost a recruiting battle to UGA? With Duke and Kansas, you’re talking about basketball’s all-time elite programs. If Parker were to sign with UGA, it would send shockwaves around the nation.  It would be a far bigger surprise than Caldwell-Pope, who always had UGA listed as one of his leaders. It would be a symbolic recruiting victory for Fox against the big boys on his home turf, and could create a lot of momentum for the Bulldogs with future in-state elite players. Parker is an Atlanta schoolboy legend and you can put his high school accomplishments – four state championships in four years – against Dwight Howard, Kwame Brown, Derrick Favors or any other basketball star from this state. We heard rumors all along that it would be Duke or Ohio State but we’re not hearing them loudly now. It projects to be a roller-coaster ride over the next three weeks to see how all of this unfolds.

What is your prediction? Do you think UGA really has a chance? Why or why not? What would it mean if Parker signed with UGA? Please post below.

MARCH MADNESS, WHAT’S THAT? RECRUITING MADESS!

WHILE YOUR BRACKETS GOT MESSED UP …

IT’S NEVER BORING IN THE WACKY WORLD OF RECRUITING

– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog

Got an item? mcarvell@ajc.com

Got an item? mcarvell@ajc.com

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187 comments Add your comment

59bulldawg

March 22nd, 2012
5:04 am

This could be the break through that Fox needs. It could be the turning point for UGA basketball! Come to Athens Mr. Parker, we’d love to have you.

Dust Dawgs

March 22nd, 2012
5:23 am

we need a true Center and he fits the mold and that could create open shots cuz he is so big and powerful and he takes up alot and would get the ball as much as he wants it with Fox’s offense

tony

March 22nd, 2012
5:51 am

If Fox can land Tony Parker I believe the dawgs will win the sec next season. Is there anyone in the country who can gaurd this young man? Tony Parker and K.Pope will be too much for any team in the country to handle. Lets hope Mr.Parker will give this state something to look forward to next season.

Joe blow

March 22nd, 2012
6:15 am

Tony would be just what the doctor ordered for bulldawg bball!!! I predict sec freshman of year possible sec champs and NCAA bid in year one…I’m excited..I hope this dream comes TRUE!!!

tenn.DAWG

March 22nd, 2012
6:16 am

Sounds like he has a good head on his shoulders.He could could elevate the UGA program with the stroke of a pen.Tony stay at home where family and friends can watch,you’ll be an in-state hero.

Outside Observer

March 22nd, 2012
6:17 am

If Mark Fox wants to win this one, he should hire Sharman White. He has all the credentials and would give UGA a highly visible recruiter who is well-connected in the Atlanta area, something that is sorely lacked now among the current assistants. It’s really a no-brainer to do that. I can’t even begin to tell you how badly UGA needs a presence in the middle. This is truly a situation where one kid could make a difference and take Fox off the hotseat. Hire Coach White!

BDDawg

March 22nd, 2012
6:20 am

I like the idea of hiring the coach. There’s too much talent getting out of this state. We need someone who knows the landscape, and high school coaches in Atlanta

dawgerbrown

March 22nd, 2012
6:21 am

It would love to see Tony at UGA. It would be interesting to see what Fox is capable of doing with a quality roster. Regardless of where he goes, he is an impressive young man. Sure he will be successful and a great teamate. Just hope he’s wearing the red and black. As a parent of two college athletes, nothing compare to being able to watch your kids compete. Kentavious and Tony could start a trend of UGA keeping these high ranked players in state.

Greyshirt U

March 22nd, 2012
6:22 am

Maybe Coach Richt can pray about it and a MIRACLE WILL HAPPEN!!! lol roll tide!

option smoption

March 22nd, 2012
6:34 am

Wake up people. It would be great, but it’s not going to happen…

ormewood

March 22nd, 2012
6:42 am

I still think he ends up in Columbus as a ready-made replacement for Sullinger. Personally, I’d like to see him in Athens, though. Way too many of the state’s best never play here.

I honestly have no idea why he would go to Duke. Watch them play. They never run their offense through their big guys. All the big guys do is screen and rebound. In the Lehigh game, Mason Plumlee was 9 for 9 from the field. He didn’t miss a shot, yet he only shot nine times because his teammates were jacking up threes. If he got 15 shots in that game, Duke would still be playing right now. Why would Parker do that? He should go somewhere where the offense runs inside-out, and he is featured.

Gordon

March 22nd, 2012
6:50 am

After reading this, and hearing a few weeks ago that he said he would “shock the world”, I would be amazed if he didn’t go to UGA.

SEC Basketball

March 22nd, 2012
7:07 am

HE COULD BE THE ONE THAT YEARS FROM NOW EVERYONE WOULD LOOK BACK AND SAY HE WAS THE ONE THAT CHANGED THE PROGRAM. IF HE GOES TO DUKE, KANSAS, UCLA HE WILL BE ONE OF MANY. HE HAS A CHANCE TO REALLY MAKE A HIS NAME REMEMBERED IN THE STATE FOR YEARS TO COME IF HE WANTS TO. ALSO WILL ALLOW HIS FAMILY TO SEE ALL HIS GAMES AND NOT JUST A FEW.

bitter grassy knoll

March 22nd, 2012
7:16 am

VICTORY FOR THE DAWGS AND FUTURE SEC CHAMPIONSHIPS

———————————————-MOONPIES–AKA —-bamma turds

Tiny Tim

March 22nd, 2012
7:26 am

Rivals has him rated #33 overall. Robert Carter rated #28. Just sayin!

Veteran Fan

March 22nd, 2012
7:31 am

He is going to Tech to join Mr Carter, Miller, and Holsey to create the strongest front line in the ACC! Coach Gregory is known for developing big men and his offense runs inside out! Mr Parker would have a shot at an ACC championship and NCAA title immediately with the strong recruits and transfers coming in! It will be three seasons before they are competitive in Athens.

German Shepherd Dawg

March 22nd, 2012
7:32 am

Wait a minute….Fox is on the hot seat? Who made that pronouncement? Does this person know anything at all about basketball? He’s gotten more out of less than anybody currently coaching the game. And no, my last name isn’t Fox. Can’t you read? It’s DAWG.

German Shepherd Dawg

March 22nd, 2012
7:33 am

Tiny Tim,

There’s a reason Fox coaches basketball and Rivals rates recruits. Those who can, do. The rest analyze and “rate” people they watch on film.

Alex

March 22nd, 2012
7:34 am

He’s not going to uga. Not a chance. But keep pumping your school

slydog

March 22nd, 2012
7:35 am

As bad as Georgia Basketball is right now, you never here this about UGA football coaches when it comes to recruiting. You never here this about UGA football coaches when it comes to player development. Proof is in the pudding. If Mark Fox pulls this off, the momentum and the hoopla might help CMR land Nkemdiche. Don’t think so? Our kids are brainwashed by the media and everybody wants the most popular toy at the time. I know it’s just a dream…lol.

German Shepherd Dawg

March 22nd, 2012
7:36 am

Gordon,

Your astute observation really pisses me off because it didn’t occur to me first. Very good point.

German Shepherd Dawg

March 22nd, 2012
7:37 am

Alex, you should use your psychic powers for good, not evil.

slydog

March 22nd, 2012
7:37 am

So, what’s the difference between #28 and #33? I know ratings has “some” meaning, but not when it comes to the difference between #28 and #33.

slydog

March 22nd, 2012
7:38 am

I guess Robert Carter’s sky hook is more developed…lol.

German Shepherd Dawg

March 22nd, 2012
7:39 am

ormewood,

You’ve obviously never been to Columbus, Ohio. Why anyone would go there without getting paid for their time was beyond me. Fortunately, I got paid and could leave after 1 day.

slydog

March 22nd, 2012
7:39 am

“Coach Gregory is known for developing big men..”

And in what galaxy is Gregory known for this? Just sayin.

slydog

March 22nd, 2012
7:40 am

Columbus, Ohio is the biggest small town in America.

slydog

March 22nd, 2012
7:42 am

Also, did you know Mark Fox runs the Inside and Sideline Triangle offense, i.e., the Triple Post offense, i.e., the same as Phil Jackson (Shaq) and Greg Popovich (Duncan and Robinson) runs. Talk something you know. Go watch soccer.

BobDawg

March 22nd, 2012
8:01 am

SLYDOG, I agree if Parker signs it could help us with RK next winter as Dawgs BBall interest would go off the charts…. Fox does run the triangle well which features the big men; he has a penchant for beating the big boys that are ranked and our team is all Frosh and Soph’s with a high ceiling. The program is just going to get better and better. This would be HUGE!

kgtech

March 22nd, 2012
8:05 am

There is no way in HE@@ TP commits to UGA.
Why???????????????? Well lets see Duke/UGA
Duke/UGA LMAO

nh gamecock

March 22nd, 2012
8:06 am

Do yourself a favor Mr parker go out of state please. We all know the sec belongs to UK. Please don’t waste your time staying in state.

Powerhouse schools duke Osu Kansas you would be a fool to play at UGA just saying but i wish you luck, wherever you go!

S

March 22nd, 2012
8:10 am

Going to Georgia would be a waste of talent. Georgia is not a traditional basketball university.
The young man needs to get away from the hounds & establish himself at a solid university.

devildawg

March 22nd, 2012
8:12 am

Landing Tony Parker would make the difference between a likely NIT team and a likely NCAA birth. Hopefully he recognizes the opportunity to shine with the shooters to spread out defenses in the Fox system. If he chooses Duke, I’d be happy too, as a both a Duke and UGA fan. Here’s to hoping he’s a devil or a dawg!!

nh gamecock

March 22nd, 2012
8:14 am

S

You is right go to the acc, big 10 or big 12 unless you want to be a football star lol.

If you want to be a one and done go to UK.

collegeballfan

March 22nd, 2012
8:17 am

Signing Parker would be big for UGA. Instant credibility.

But. Will he be a one and done?

One and done’s do nothing for your program. Ask Hewitt, he had 4 one and done’s in his 10 years.

Dap01

March 22nd, 2012
8:22 am

Greyshirt U R and foolish person.

Hubie Green

March 22nd, 2012
8:27 am

Coach Fox has done a great job with this year’s class. Parker fits in very well as the big inside presence UGA needs. Fox was also very smart not trying a short term JUCO fix, but waiting to sign high D I’s for next season.

evil empire

March 22nd, 2012
8:35 am

why on earth would he go to uga???…kid, don’t waste you talents in athens…if you have the grades, go to duke or vandy…just as trix are for kids, uga is for losers…

ATL Fan

March 22nd, 2012
8:45 am

Oh…this is basketball. I thought it would be an article about UGA football.

A Father

March 22nd, 2012
8:50 am

Mark Fox, thanks for the persistent hard work and burning passion to be the best.

Adams, McGarity and AD Board of Directors should be embarrassed that Georgia is still playing games in a cattle barn. It has been time to build a multi functional state of the art coliseum on the Georgia campus. I am not a fan of basketball but one thing is for sure, the facilities provided by Georgia for the sport of basketball are “TERRIBLE”. It is time to provide top level facilities and maybe, just maybe, Georgia would have the support of the students and alumni. Most alumni most memorable times are the annual Rodeo in the building.

I would like to apologize to Mark Fox for not providing the necessary needs for a winning program, no coach can win the heart of enough top athletes to compete in the Rodeo Barn.

Crimson Tide Pride

March 22nd, 2012
8:56 am

As a parent, I would be “UPSET” if my student-athlete child was stupid enough to actually go to UGA.

ROLL TIDE!

DawginLex

March 22nd, 2012
9:04 am

nice comment tide pride

Now go back to your tractor

bucket

March 22nd, 2012
9:05 am

@ Veteran Fan – “It will be three seasons before they are competitive in Athens.” I have to respectfully disagree with that statement. Coach Fox has already signed 3 really good players in Morris, Gaines, and Mann who all played on state championship teams in Georgia this year. Those players will be added to some good players already on campus in Pope, Djurisic, and Williams. Also, there are already a couple of bigs there that will be much improved with another year of development. Parker is the type of player that could put UGA over the top immediately if he chooses to play for the Dawgs. I still personally believe that it is a longshot for the Dawgs to land Parker, but they are not as far away from competing for the SEC and NCAA tourney as some may think.

DawginLex

March 22nd, 2012
9:09 am

a father

So building a new arena is the answer?

How is that working out up in columbia and over at Auburn?

Speaking of embarrassment, I am embarrassed you claim any allegiance to UGA based on the garbage you write on these blogs

Brian

March 22nd, 2012
9:10 am

Crimson Tide Pride: I wish that tornado would have hit all these bandwagon fans on here that “love” Alabama.

Newnandawg

March 22nd, 2012
9:11 am

We need this kid to help our conversion from a football school to a basketball school.

Brian

March 22nd, 2012
9:12 am

LOL last time I checked there are no elephants in Alabama and as far as a tide? LOL your beaches suck.

I dropped my fried twinkie

March 22nd, 2012
9:13 am

A DUKE diploma and an Education from Coach K or UGa? Hahahaha
Is that really a question? If the kid picks UGa & Fox he is not really too smart.

Paul in NH

March 22nd, 2012
9:13 am

A new arena is the key to an improved team?
Somebody needs to tell that to Duke.

A Father

March 22nd, 2012
9:14 am

dawginlex, glad to see that GA compares itself to auburn and s carolina before making decisions of which could provide leadership, your excuses and examples are the very reason Georgia is becoming less and less relevant in athletics regionally and nationally.