Before Florida’s season began, senior forward Chandler Parsons served as the poster boy for the program.
Game winning shots against North Carolina State and South Carolina elevated Parsons’ confidence, By the end of his junior season, Parsons emerged as Florida’s go-to guy late. Billy Donovan lauded Parsons’ growth and maturity on and off court.
Yet Parsons hasn’t been the same since going 1-for-9 from the floor and 1-for-6 from the free throw line in his horrendous homecoming game against UCF.
Parsons entered the UCF game averaging 11.8 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. Since, Parsons has scored in double-figures just once (a 13-point effort against American), averaging 7.2 points and 5.8 rebounds. Parsons has had 15 assists to 11 turnovers during that span.
One turnover was particularly crushing. With 24 seconds left in regulation, Parsons allowed Jacksonville senior forward Ayron Hardy to wrestle the ball away from him. Hardy broke free for a tying breakaway layup which forced overtime.
I asked Donovan if he was concerned about Parsons’ confidence following the Jacksonville loss.
“I’m really not,” Donovan said. “Being a senior in college and playing 30 minutes, I think confidence has to come from within, inside yourself.”
Parsons was not available for interviews following the game.
“I don’t know if he’s confident or if he’s not confident,” Donovan said. “I think the one thing I’ve always said that I love about competition is that it’s the most unprejudiced thing that goes on. It does not care what you did yesterday, 10 hours ago, two weeks ago, a month ago, 24 hours ago or even 36 hours ago. When the ball gets thrown up, that’s it, it’s between the lines.”
Donovan said following UF’s win over Kent State that he envisions Parsons as a “point-forward” who needs to make players around him better. But Parsons seems to have been deferential to a fault since Florida’s loss to UCF. He attempted just six shots against Jacksonville. Meanwhile, Florida backcourt starters Erving Walker and Kenny Boynton attempted 25 shots, making just 10. Since taking nine shots against UCF, Parsons has averaged just taking 6.3 shots per game.
At his best, Parsons is a huge matchup problem as a 6-foot-10 small forward with the ability to drive to the basket and shoot from the perimeter. But Florida’s offense, which hasn’t scored more than 70 points since before Thanksgiving, has reverted to either dumping the ball to center Vernon Macklin in the post or having Walker and Boynton jack up 3s.
Should Parsons be more involved in the offense? Is Donovan making a mistake by not running more plays for Parsons while letting Boynton and Walker bomb away without repercussions? Your thoughts?