When the Oh Fours left Gainesville, no one knew who was in charge. Walter Hodge was the oldest remaining player, but he could never get through as a team captain. But that wasn't his fault. The team wasn't mature enough yet. There were reports at the time of Al Horford and Joakim Noah coming back to Gainesville to workout in the summer and talk to the team. Rather than listen to successful players, a few chose to keep their iPods in and space out. Those players soon left for the NBA and Europe, leaving a group of guys who worked hard enough to limp into the NCAA Tournament.
The Gators still lack a captain, either a single player or by committee. It would normally be the senior, Dan Werner, but that is not in his personality. Chandler Parsons could be that guy. He was always a tall kid, but has bulked up, knowing that he needed to handle more of the scoring responsibilities in 2010. Parsons calls for the ball on the floor and is going to the bucket more. His shooting percentage is 50% and his free throw percentage went from 56 to 67%. Parsons has demonstrated that he knows what his flaws are and has worked hard to erase them.
The problem is that Parsons probably has never had to have been a leader. Parsons played much of his schoolboy career with Nick Calathes, who was always the star of the show. Parsons could be successful as a role player, as he was last season. This season, Parsons personality remained that of a role player, even though UF is a totally different team when he is taking 10-15 shots a game. He can create shots and he needs to let everyone on the floor know that.
Too often, Parsons will run out to the wing as Erving Walker tries to set up Vernon Macklin for a roll to the hoop. The problem is that Walker isn't a good enough shooter to take advantage if the double team follows Macklin, and Macklin is too inconsistent. When UF rolls Parsons and Alex Tyus, it finishes with a Tyus dunk or Parsons bucket. That is the other gain Parsons has made; he is the best passer on the team. Parsons height allows him to see the floor better than Walker or Kenny Boynton, even if Parsons lacks some of their ballhandling skills.
Against BYU on Thursday, Parsons needs to light a fire under the Gators the same was he did in the SEC first round game against Auburn. If not, with buckets, by getting in the face of his teammates.