Parsons is head of the glass

Gators forward Chandler Parsons (25) is fouled by Kentucky guard Doron Lamb (20) during the second half at the Stephen O'Connell Center on Saturday, Feb. 5, 2011. Florida defeated Kentucky 70-68. The foul put Parsons on the line where he made 1-2 with less than a minute in the game.

Matt Stamey/Staff photographer
Published: Tuesday, February 8, 2011 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, February 7, 2011 at 6:08 p.m.

Florida senior forward Chandler Parsons says he enters each game with the same goal.

"I just want to make it a nightmare for my guy to try to block me out every possession," Parsons said.

Parsons, who was named Southeastern Conference player of the week on Monday, has made his opponents' dreams unpleasant of late. Going into Wednesday night's game at South Carolina, Parsons had put together a string of five straight games with 10 or more rebounds. He's averaging 12 rebounds per game during that stretch.

The 6-foot-10 Parsons posted the 11th and 12th double-doubles of his career in Florida's back-to-back wins over Vanderbilt and Kentucky. The No. 17 Gators beat two straight ranked teams for the first time since 2007.

For a player that arrived on campus nearly four years ago under 200 pounds, Parsons has developed a knack for going to the boards. As Parsons has gotten physically stronger each year (he's close to 220 pounds as senior), his rebounding numbers have improved. Parsons, the SEC's active career leading rebounder with 697, averaged just four rebounds per game as a freshman. Those numbers jumped to 5.7 rpg as a sophomore to 6.7 rpg as a junior to 7.7 rpg so far in his senior year.

"The biggest thing for him, like any rebounder, is he's active," Donovan said. "He makes the effort to go to the glass."

But Donovan also views Parsons' size at the small forward spot as an advantage. In three SEC games this season, Florida has faced teams that start three guards, giving Parsons a significant height advantage in man defense.

"For a guy like Chandler, who is on the perimeter, it is a lot easier to see flights of balls and run in," Donovan said. "And the tendency when someone is on the perimeter a lot of times is not to block them out, to lose sight, to be caught in a rotation and a lot of times that gives him a free run to go in there. And a lot of times it helps him when he defensive rebounds, because of his size he can start the break and we can run quickly without having to outlet the ball. "

Parsons came up with two big offensive rebounds Saturday night against No. 10 Kentucky. With Florida down 59-58 and Kentucky playing zone, Parsons was able to slip past UK forward Darius Miller for a put-back dunk as he was fouled. Parsons completed the three-point play with a free throw to put Florida up 61-59. Parsons later added a put-back dunk off an Erving Walker missed 3-point attempt with 3:07 left to cut Kentucky's lead to 64-63.

"The guy who hurt us the most was Chandler Parsons," Kentucky coach John Calipari said. "He out-worked our guy. He worked harder for offensive rebounds than our guy did for defensive rebounds."

Parsons has done the work on both the offensive and defensive glass. Parsons has grabbed 43 defensive rebounds and 17 offensive rebounds over his last five games.

"I've just tried to aggressive," Parsons said. "I've always said rebounding is about complete effort. ... On the defensive rebounds, I usually have a guy smaller than me, so I feel like I have an advantage going into the games snagging those defensive rebounds."

It's also helped that Parsons has home help across a deep Florida frontline. Senior starters Vernon Macklin and Alex Tyus have been able to box out when shots have gone up, while 245-pound Patric Young has provided relief off the bench. Sophomore Erik Murphy and freshman Will Yeguete also have helped off the bench in spots.

"It definitely helps having Alex and Pat and Will and Vern. They hit the biggest guys on the court, sometimes I can sneak in there and grab rebounds," Parsons said. "But it's different. (Vanderbilt forward) Jeff Taylor, the guy goes to the glass every time, and I had to block him out every time. So it's not like it's easy. It definitely takes hard work. But I've just got to stay aggressive and go hard every time."

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