I wouldn’t be surprised to see a certain terrible Bourbon Meyer writer’s next entry attacking Chandler Parsons. After all, he came to Gainesville as part of a heralded class, and after almost three and a half years, he has won ZERO NCAA Tournament games. THE BASTARD! He’s too skinny, his hair has always been either really shaggy or really shaved. I’m sure he dates some hottie. And his Dad probably loves him. WHAT A DOUCHE! So Rainman will no doubt enlighten us as to how terrible he has been and how we should hate him.
But pure idiocy aside, Chandler Parsons is quickly approaching elite air in Gainesville. In the past three years, can you recall anyone on the college level or even in the NBA with more putback dunks and layups than Parsons? If you are an SEC coach and you don’t instruct your players to find him once a shot goes up, you are failing at your job. Add those jams to the myriad of Parsons’ buzzer beaters and you have one hell of a highlight reel.
Saturday night’s game against Kentucky was one for the ages. Kentucky and Florida haven’t met many times when both teams have Sweet 16 caliber teams. College Gameday was on hand (one last dig at Rainman – a dickhead Cats fan was in the stands behind the Gameday guys during the early morning show holding a sign ragging on… wait for it… Matt Walsh). The O-Dome was actually full. And the players surely felt that energy. Florida got big moments from just about everyone on the roster, but it was Parsons who led the way. Without scoring much in the first half, he affected the game with boards and dimes. When Florida’s characteristic offensive drought came in the second half, it was Parsons who was able to put the ball in the bucket. And in a game filled with big-time performances from Brandon Knight (can you imagine how good UF would be if he hadn’t backstabbed Billy Donovan in last year’s recruiting season?) and Terrance Jones, two surefire future NBA stars, it was Parsons who made the biggest impact time and again. Florida is now 18-5, 7-2, headed for a top 20 ranking and a potential top 5 seed in the Big Dance. And it isn’t because of Kenny Boynton and his 29% three-point shooting. There is still a lot of hoops left this year. We know how frustrating this Gators team has been in the past. But little by little, they seem to be turning the corner a bit. They seem to be getting it. Parsons is a big reason.
Full disclosure – Chandler Parsons is my guy. When he came in as a freshman, I latched onto him as MY CAT. I saw something in the skinny kid I had seen in guys like Mike Miller, Brent Wright, Matt Walsh and Corey Brewer. He had the talents to affect a game without scoring. He had a high hoops IQ. He busted his ass on the court. It has been a rocky road for the senior to this point. After signing with Florida after its second straight national title, there is no doubt he didn’t see the struggles coming. But unlike his much more heralded buddy Nick Calathes, Chandler stuck by Gainesville. This year, we all hope the mutual love affair pays off with a little bit of March magic.