More Tony Parker fallout … and UGA’s “Plan B” recruit

Tony Parker's 57-minute commitment ceremony stirred up a lot of national buzz (AJC)

Tony Parker's 57-minute commitment ceremony stirred up a lot of national buzz (AJC)

The kid who was UGA’s “Plan B” to Tony Parker kept checking on his cell phone for updates on Monday.

And checking.

And checking again.

And checking a few more times.

Finally at the conclusion of Parker’s infamous 57-minute commitment ceremony in which he ripped off his jacket to reveal a UCLA t-shirt, the “Plan B” could go into effect. Houston Kessler, whose father and late uncle played basketball for UGA, signed with Bulldogs on Tuesday night and faxed in the paperwork on Wednesday.

By the way, did you see the column by ESPN’s which had a humorous reflection and recap of Parker’s ceremony? Click here to read.

Back to Kessler: After losing some sleep over the last week while pondering his future, he could finally celebrate when Parker picked up the UGA baseball cap and quickly put it back down during Monday’s “The Decision II.”

“I was anxious, and probably lost a little sleep and some focus at school, but I wasn’t extremely worried,” Kessler told the AJC. “I mean, I knew I had other options if it didn’t work out. It wasn’t like life or death. But I’m excited that it did.”

UGA coach Mark Fox was direct and honest to the 6-foot-8 forward about where he sat on the food chain: They wanted Parker. And if it didn’t work out with the AJC’s Mr. Basketball, then Kessler was the backup plan.

“Coach Fox said we really want you but we can’t send you the scholarship right now – and that’s because of Tony Parker,” Kessler said.

Houston Kessler took sort of a gamble by waiting on UGA but it paid off (Photo courtesy of Landmark Christian)

Houston Kessler took sort of a gamble by waiting on UGA but it paid off (Photo courtesy of Landmark Christian)

Kessler took sort of a gamble to wait on UGA. He had around 15 scholarship offers, including Mississippi State, Buffalo, Furman, William & Mary, among other schools. Every day that passed without Parker signing in the late period, Kessler was at risk of losing one of his options.

“But the thing is, none of the other schools really gave me an ultimatum,” Kessler said. “Maybe all of this would’ve turned out different if Mississippi State or another school would have said, ‘If you don’t sign by this day, we’re going to go with somebody else.’ But they never did.”

Kessler was thrilled with how it turned out, even if he was “Plan B” and a sideshow to perhaps the most infamous signing ceremony in state basketball history.

“I mean, the ‘Plan B’ thing doesn’t bother me that much,” Kessler said. “I’m just real excited to go and play there. But I’m not going to say it doesn’t bother me at all. Nobody wants to be referred to as a ‘Plan B.’ I’m going to go there, work hard and hopefully make people remember me for other things. I’m excited about the opportunity.”

For a story on Houston Kessler by the AJC’s Chip Towers, please go here.





– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog

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68 comments Add your comment

Gravy Train

April 26th, 2012
3:02 am

How much does he weigh? Is he scrappy?


April 26th, 2012
3:13 am

He’s a big kid and may get bigger. Everyone who knows him says that he’s a class act. It’s interesting that Coach Fox doesn’t have any problems with his players. What’s he doing differently than CMR?

A person SMART enough to know......

April 26th, 2012
3:48 am

Gravy Train………Ask About WEIGHT? HAHAHAAAHAH
Gravy Train …….asking if the UGa coed is a Natural Blonde…………….HAHAAHAAHAH
Gravy Train……..AXing if’n dat Bro can spell for’n he dona tote dat Rock to da Gold Line…………..HAHAHAHA


April 26th, 2012
6:13 am

Mr. Kessler, you have no idea how refreshing it is to hear a young guy like yourself exhibit so much class. Congradulations and good luck with your dreams!

Welcome Aboard

April 26th, 2012
6:24 am

Welcome aboard Mr Kessler. Yes, please use the “Plan B” label as a motivator. I hope you have a fantastic career at UGA.


April 26th, 2012
7:39 am

Houston, proud to see the Kessler legacy continue at UGA!! GO DAWGS!!

Mind in the Hedges

April 26th, 2012
8:10 am

Glad to have you on board Houston. Being second to Tony Parker, the most decorated basketball player in Georgia, that’s an honorable position despite the negative conotation….


April 26th, 2012
8:38 am

Like the kid’s attitude, would rather have him.


April 26th, 2012
8:44 am

Glad to sign one who wants to be a Dawg enough to wait & work hard…congrats Houston!!!


April 26th, 2012
9:02 am

I’ll take more class over more ass.


April 26th, 2012
9:15 am

Hilarious Grantland article.

Whenever someone makes such a big deal of himself, I always think….”You’ll never be able to match all of this hype and foolishness.” The subject always comes off clownish, ignorant, and/or arrogant.

Sounds like Tony Parker achieved all three.


April 26th, 2012
9:24 am

The longer the Tony Parker Press Conference went on the longer I realized we don’t want him at UGA. Bring it on Mr. Kessler!

Big Crimson 75

April 26th, 2012
9:35 am

Sometimes plan “B” works out better than plan “A”.
Nothing in that self-promoting stunt the other night makes me think Parker is anything but a 1 & done me-first Player who won’t help UCLA win anything next year.

Game Changer

April 26th, 2012
9:45 am

If Fox would recruit at least two kids ” JUST LIKE Kessler each year “, character, intelligence and image, GA basketball would be a hit win or lose and I would support FOX to remain coach regardless.


April 26th, 2012
9:52 am

I don’t know about ya’ll but I love a kid that truly wants to be a DawG! Do Yo thang Kessler! Welcome to UGA buddy!

Dr. Don

April 26th, 2012
9:57 am

Mike – why use the word “infamous”? I don’t see anything that is any worse than any of the other 4,350,334 signings that take place around the country. Dec 7, 1941 – a day which will live in infamy. TP’s signing ceremony isn’t at that level now is it? Word power man, word power.


April 26th, 2012
10:16 am

You have to read the Grantland article linked above. Absolutely hilarious. I prefer the kid that gets his degree and plays for 4 years, especially a legacy whose uncle and dad were DGDs.


April 26th, 2012
10:28 am

My own opinion after seeing the signing is that we may well do better with Plan B than we would have with Plan A. I remember both of the older Kesslers and they both were DGD’s. If he grows physically half as much as his uncle did, then he will make us forget that we almost had Mr. Parker.


April 26th, 2012
10:43 am

After all B is for BEST!


April 26th, 2012
10:50 am


Dawg Haus

April 26th, 2012
11:21 am

Good to have a young man whose heart is in it. Best of luck, Houston!


April 26th, 2012
11:55 am

I really can’t say much about that except it was a huge overkill. But the most telling thing about it was not it took the better part of an hour to do, but the laughter from all his supporters when the lady challenged him to not leave his college of choice without a degree.


April 26th, 2012
12:24 pm

UGA is better off with a talent like plan B than a Lebron like personality like Parker.

Dirty Dawg

April 26th, 2012
12:45 pm

Somehow I have to believe that whatever you want to call it – and by the way, Plan A’s usually don’t work the way you’d expect – getting young Mr Kessler will be a blessing. First because he’s a quality player, quality kid (not that Parker ain’t) and a Bulldog from the get-go. As for Mr Parker, he’ll join the ranks of so many other top players from the state that get their heads filled with visions of ‘the grass is greener’…opts for some school way away from their home state…goes pro after a year or two at most…sits the bench (can you say Thompkins and Leslie?) for several years…makes some money of course but then bounces around from team to team for a while then comes back to Georgia and wonders why his name doesn’t open any doors.

Meanwhile, Mr Kessler grows four or five inches…completes his eligibility at UGA…and becomes part of The Mark Fox Great Georgia Basketball Breakthrough’…how’s that for your Plan B?


April 26th, 2012
12:59 pm

Everybody seems to be on the same page…..except for poor ol’ harold.

There’s always one nitwit whiner in the crowd.

German Shepherd Dawg

April 26th, 2012
1:20 pm


Thanks for the laugh. After that ceremony, I’m very glad we got Kessler. Even more important that recruiting, Fox can actually coach! The longer he stays, the more recruits will recognize that fact, and recruiting will improve. How about turning off the CAPS LOCK key before you pontificate again, why don’t you?

“Shouting” does not help make your point.

German Shepherd Dawg

April 26th, 2012
1:21 pm

Simple Dawg,

You mistake harold for an actual Dawg fan, that knows something about basketball.

German Shepherd Dawg

April 26th, 2012
1:23 pm

Once upon a time, the Braves had a plan “A” named Todd van Poppel, a decent HS pitcher.

Plan “B” was Chipper Jones.


April 26th, 2012
1:39 pm

Boy, you just gotta hope the Kessler kid turns out to have a great career at UGA, while UCLA gets some NCAA attention with its one-and-done, egotistic signee. No doubt that former AAU coach-now UCLA asst coach is gonna have to answer some questions.

If Houston Kessler has the talent and desire his uncle had, “Plan B” will turn out to be a coup for Mark Fox. His dad Chad was a good player for UGA, but Alec was a tough, humble superstar for the Dawgs.

Congrats Houston – can’t wait to see you play.

T Dawg

April 26th, 2012
2:18 pm

harold just try to do the best you can to hold on son. I’m close to coming up with a vaccine for stupidity. Until then, please lay your crack pipe down.

Ron Burgundy

April 26th, 2012
2:34 pm

Tech fan here. UGA got the better end of this deal. The Kesslers were a handful to deal with and always seemed to be great reps for UGA on and off the court. Stay Classy Kesslers

Mtn Dawg

April 26th, 2012
2:39 pm

@harold – It takes success to breed success and CMF is getting there. He was a recuiting genious at Nevada. It’ll come.

Mtn Dawg

April 26th, 2012
2:40 pm

Was Alec the uncle or the father?

Jesus Christ

April 26th, 2012
2:47 pm

Furman, Buffalo, William and Mary! Geez, the recruiting bar has never been so low.

Jesus Christ

April 26th, 2012
2:48 pm

Someone asked if he is scrappy? I can tell you he is crappy.

Tony Parker

April 26th, 2012
2:49 pm

Tony is a good but not great player. He will not turn out that great. Another Randolph Morris in the making. The real thing here, though, is that what has happened to HOME STATE loyalty. Yeah Im talking to all you so called GA Boys. Grow a set and stay home. Turn UGA into a power. Ya’ll realize Florida was never good at basketball till early 2000’s. Then what happened, Billy D a couple of good classes and bam, now they are routinely a top 25 program. Georgia could do that and some with all the talent in Atlanta. We need the studs, so grow a pair, dont take the easy route and go play with Shabazz, kyle, and just be an after thought. Take charge, be a real man, and become a home grown LEGEND and turn around UGA. We already have a great coach, who by REALGM is ranked #1 at player development. He’ll get you to the league so that is not an issue.


April 26th, 2012
3:25 pm

I don’t care how good he is, Parker is a one and done kid with an ENORMOUS ego. Any high school kid that wastes an hour holding a “commitment ceremony” is not my kind of guy. Fox needs to keep trying to build a TEAM. Don’t even bother with the kids that would go straight to the NBA if the rules were different.


April 26th, 2012
3:33 pm

I think people may be being too kind in their opinion of parker.

if anything, sounds like is career will likely mirror renardo sidney’s career:

HS- micky d’s all america
fresh- fist fight w/ a teamate at an invitational b-ball tournament in maui, hi
soph- lower stats than from his fresh season. dropped-out of school to go pro.

wait a second, I may be too generous in my opinion of parker.


April 26th, 2012
4:26 pm

In the long run, this might work out much better for Georgia, then if Parker had landed in Athens.
At any rate, wish Tony the best.

Houston…glad you are a DAWG!


April 26th, 2012
4:34 pm

Hold up!!! I didn’t watch the ‘ceremony.” hahaahha. Did Parker really have the disrespect to pick up a Georgia cap and then sit it back down in order to pull off a stunt? Glad he’s at UCLA. That’s not being bitter, that’s keeping it real.

Hound or Bull

April 26th, 2012
4:50 pm

What kind of dawgs are you UGA fans? Still crying about young Mr Parker, sounding like hurt hound dawgs. The kid didn’t choose UGA get over it. So you didn’t get a stud post player who has won 4 straight state titles, won gold with the USA16u team, Mr Bball in GA, Jordan Brand player, Mickey Ds player, Nike Hoop Summit Player.

Be content with “plan B” who only got the offer probably because his last name is Kessler. Offers from bball powers Buffalo, Furman & William/Mary. He must be an upgrade to Thornton & Dixon? LMAO!


April 26th, 2012
5:40 pm

I took this kid 57 min to say he was going to attend UCLA? Can we all say, “me first, me always”. UGA just got lucky!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


April 26th, 2012
5:47 pm

I’m glad UGA isn’t like Kentucky. I couldn’t really feel much pride in a bunch of mercenary one and dones. Kessler is a kid I can pull for and receive much more satisfaction from watching him reach his potential. Rather than have a kid that has an hour long commitment party where he does the tired fake hat grab.

Floundering Fox Hounds Batman!

April 26th, 2012
5:54 pm

Fox is a weak recruiter as it shows once again. This clown will be gone after next year when he still won’t be “In the Hunt” as McGarrity likes to put it. Bank on it!


April 26th, 2012
6:02 pm

Actually, while Fox is having trouble reeling in the bluechippers, this class is a step above what he has been recruiting. With Fox’s coaching ability he will have this group in the NCAA’s in two years.


April 26th, 2012
7:56 pm

I’m not going to bash Tony Parker, he’s made his choice and it’s over and done with. I do feel sorry for his mother who it appears wanted him to stay closer to home. I’m sure they will really miss each other. On to Houston Kessler. He’s probably somewhat of a project but Coach Fox is the right coach to tackle that. We know that Houston will pull good grades, stay out of trouble, and be a team player. If he continues to grow and develope he will be all upside. Great recruit pick up. Good job coach Fox. Let’s forget about Plan B and call this Kid Plan K. and let him make his own history.

Simmons HB

April 26th, 2012
9:27 pm

Plan B? Going to play BBall in Athens GA = Plan Z.

bob from smyrna

April 26th, 2012
9:42 pm

Another Tech fan who appreciates the Kessler genes, and thinks this will work out for UGA. I really think that Fox is a great teacher and you’ll see him grow into a force by his Jr/Sr years ( while Parker will be on an NBA bench). Sad that so many GA high school BB hotshots ignore our state schools. Tech and UGA should both always be in the national top 10 in BB.


April 26th, 2012
9:45 pm

Kessler is 6′ 8″ but very thin. Needs to gain at least 30 lbs of muscle. Should be redshirted. He averaged 20 + points and 11 rebounds a game.


April 26th, 2012
10:46 pm

I don’t know why we have never been able to keep kids in state. I remember when I was in high school, about 700 years ago, 4 of the 5 1st team all SEC players were from the state of Georgia, and none went to school in our state. Walker at Kentucky, Ellis at Tennessee, Malone at Miss. State, and somebody from Alabama. If we could keep one tenth of our share at home we would be great. I don’t get it. But glad to have another Kessler. I think he will work out well.