When Chandler Parsons narrowed his list of favorite schools to seven earlier in the week, he felt obligated to call all the schools that didn’t make the cut to thank them for their interest but let them know that he had to focus on a smaller group of schools that best fit his needs. Most of the coaches were appreciative of his call while there were a couple that responded with anger.
“I felt so bad after talking to Coach (Herb) Sendek,” said Parsons, the 6-9 forward from Lake Howell High School in Casselberry. “He was so great about everything, wishing me good luck wherever I go and letting me know that if I should change my mind that there was a place for me at Arizona State. He was just great about it and it made me feel bad that I’m not considering them, but he understood that it’s just so far away.
“Most of the coaches were really nice. There were a couple of them that got mad at me. I’m sorry they feel that way but I had to do what’s best for me. You kind of find out who your friends are at times like this.”
Surviving the cut for the number 56 player in the Scout.com national rankings were Florida, LSU, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Indiana and South Florida. Parsons told Gator Country Saturday that he will be making a visit to Gainesville to spend some time with Coach Billy Donovan sometime in the next couple of weeks and that he has scheduled an official visit to LSU on September 9.
“Coach Donovan will be back from vacation Monday and we’ll talk and set up a day for me to come up and spend time with him and the coaches,” said Parsons. “I want to talk with him about how he sees me fitting in at Florida. I want to know how they’ll use me on the team. I don’t expect anyone to guarantee me that I’ll start but I do want to know that there’s a plan to get me involved so I can earn some kind of playing time until I’ve earned the right to start.
“I like Florida a lot and I’ve always liked Coach Donovan. I think he’s a great coach and Florida is the national champion. To play for the Gators would be a real honor. I might come away from that meeting knowing that this is where I’m going to go but even if I do, I feel I owe it to Coach Brady to visit LSU. I’m going to visit there the weekend of September 9.”
When Parsons started lighting it up on the AAU circuit this summer, LSU stepped up its recruiting efforts. Parsons averaged more than 25 points a game playing for Nike Team Florida along with Florida commitment and Lake Howell teammate Nick Calathes. As he put up the big numbers, LSU Coach John Brady personally took over recruiting Parsons from his assistants. Ever since the Nike camp, Parsons says Brady has been in touch on an almost daily basis.
“I like Coach Brady a lot,” said Parsons. “He sends a lot of text messages and we talk on the phone a lot. I think I can talk to him about everything. He’s been straight up with me from the beginning and he’s someone I can trust. He’s a funny guy, too.
“I like the way he’s got a plan for me to develop as a player. I like the way Coach Brady has recruited me and so I feel I really do need to visit LSU, see what their campus is like and get a feeling for things out there.”
In the meantime, school has started at Lake Howell which will have a top five national ranking in the preseason polls. The Silver Hawks, who have made the Final Four in Florida the last four years, will be playing in several big time tournaments out of state and once again in the City of Palms Classic in Fort Myers so it’s a challenging schedule.
The coach on the sideline will be a familiar face, too. Reggie Kohn, who coached Lake Howell the last three years, is now the director of basketball operations at South Florida. The replacement coach is Steve Kohn, Reggie’s dad and the coach at Lake Howell for years before Reggie took over.
“It’s not like anything will change,” said Parsons. “Coach Kohn taught Reggie and he also coached my brothers so the system is the same. It’s going to be great playing for him.”
He has a goal of adding 15 pounds of muscle to his skinny 190-pound frame so he’s already begun working hard in the gym every day. He’s lifting and he’s got a nutrition plan to help him add muscle.
“I’m pretty sore right now in my arms and in my chest,” he said. “I really do have to get stronger and add some weight before the season starts.”
His goals for the 2006-2007 season?
“Obviously, the first is to win a state championship,” he said. “After that, I want to keep improving as a player and maybe make the top 20 or even the top 10 if I can.”