Parker, Muhammad Still Considering UCLA Despite Story
Tony Parker’s father said his son is still considering UCLA in the wake of the Sports Illustrated story, but that the report is not “a good thing” and is a “bad reflection” on Bruins coach Ben Howland.
“Yes, we [are] still considering UCLA,” Virgil Parker told SNY.tv Thursday evening by phone.
Asked if the story would hurt UCLA’s chances of landing Parker, a 6-foot-9 forward from Lithonia (Ga.) Miller Grove High, and 6-6 wing Shabazz Muhammad of Las Vegas Bishop Gorman, Parker said: “Not really. I don’t think that would hurt their chances of getting them.
“I don’t think it’s a good thing, but at the same time … if that was going on it’s just like Kevin Love said, it’s just a couple of bad apples.”
Parker told SNY.tv on Monday that his son was considering Kansas, UCLA, Duke, Ohio State, Memphis and Georgia and would announce at the McDonald’s All-American Game.
The SI story referenced past UCLA players involved in fights, disrespecting the program and using alcohol and drugs.
Parker said the family had a discussion about the SI article once it came out.
“Tony and my wife and I had a talk about that article and it’s really unfortunate that they recruited those type of guys there,” he said. “And it’s a bad reflection on Coach Howland but at the same time it’s more of a bad reflection on the kids.”
Parker said he believes his son is “a good kid.”
“I tell him all the time, either you’re going to be a positive influence on somebody or you’re going to allow them to be a negative influence on you,” he said. “He’s always been a hard worker and he has a 3.5 GPA.”
Ron Holmes, Muhammad’s father, gave similar comments to Dave Telep of ESPN.com, saying that his son was still considering UCLA despite the article.
“It doesn’t really effect us that much but UCLA is going to have to get control of that program if they’re going to go forward,” Holmes told Telep. “You have to discipline those guys and get rid of them if need be.”
He also said he could still see his son picking UCLA despite what was reported.
“Yes, [Shabazz] could go to school there right now because I understand what was going on,” Holmes said. “I saw [Reeves] Nelson’s shenanigans. He was out of control and I was trying to figure it out because I’ve always heard that Coach Howland was a disciplinarian. Eventually Coach Howland did [dismiss Nelson].
“It doesn’t affect us in that regard but obviously it has some effect because when you put that program against other programs that don’t have issues, it might have an affect.”
Kyle Anderson Sr. told SNY.tv Wednesday that his son — a 6-9 point guard called the “modern-day Magic Johnson” by Hall of Fame St. Anthony coach Bob Hurley — still supported Howland and planned to honor his Letter of Intent to UCLA next fall.
Virgil Parker said he had not yet read the CBSSports.com story which revealed that the NCAA is looking into amateurism issues related to Muhammad and that it had contacted all six schools recruiting him to warn them.
Muhammad is due to take an official visit to Duke this weekend for the North Carolina game. He is also considering UCLA, Kentucky, Kansas, Arizona and UNLV.
Parker said Tony was not planning to attend the Duke game because he’s “in the middle of his state championship run,” but could change his mind and go if they lose their game Friday.
“He probably will change his mind if they get beat on Friday but as of right now I don’t think we’ll be going to that game,” Parker said.
Both Muhammad and Parker visited Kansas officially last weekend and the fathers of both players came away raving about the visits in interviews with SNY.tv.
Kansas and UCLA are the only adidas schools recruiting Muhammad, whose older sister, Asia, is a professional tennis player with an adidas deal.
“Now you can quote me on this,” Holmes old CBS. “What I have to say is that [Adidas] has never once come at me about ‘Bazz going to an Adidas school. They’ll say if he goes to an Adidas school like UCLA or Kansas that means they’ll get to see him more because [they] go and watch those games. But they’ve never come at me like that. Adidas has never done anything they weren’t supposed to do.”
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.