In the recent stretch of Gators basketball, highly touted players did not amount to much. Nick Calathes exiled himself to Greece, Marreese Speights went to the pros a year early and several transfered, including Jai Lucas and Eloy Vargas.
When Florida signed Calathes, Chandler Parsons was seen as a throw in. Parsons was destined to be nothing more than Calathes' caddy.
But that changed between Parsons' sophomore and junior seasons. Now in his last home game, Parsons can finally do what previously touted classes did: win something. Should the Gators win tonight against Alabama, they will clinch at least a share of the SEC and clinch the East division.
Parsons has grown up over the last two seasons in a manner that we could have never predicted. Not only has be become a more physical player, he is a leader on the floor. When it appears as if Alex Tyus or Erving Walker would be more happy to play a one-man game, Parsons is the one to bring everyone back in. His scoring might have dropped a point because he is being targeted by opposing teams. But he has found other ways to contribute. His rebounds and 3-point shooting percentage are up, as is his assist/turnover ratio. We don't expect guys to score 20 every night, but if you can't do that, find a way to contribute. Parsons does that.
When compared to Calathes, it is no contest who is the better player. Maybe Parsons relies as much on guile as skill, but I'd rather have a player willing to break his body for the team, than one who was going through the motions. Parsons' game has always been on the rise, as he increased his responsibilities. That is what you want in a player.
Unfortunately for Parsons, he will ultimately be judged by what he won. But he can start Tuesday night against Alabama.
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