Things haven’t been easy for Tony Parker as he adjusts to life on the west coast.
He’s 3,000 miles away from his family. He’s learning how to be a college student at the same time that he’s learning how to be a college basketball player. And he’s trying to learn how to be a college basketball player while watching the other three members of UCLA’s vaunted freshmen class thrive while he struggles for minutes battling through injuries.
He tore his hamstring the first practice back in July. He battled back spasms during UCLA’s trip to New York, something that hasn’t completely gone away this season. He sprained his ankle stepping on a basketball during warmups against Cal St. Northridge, the first game for the Bruins after Josh Smith left the team. That forced him out of that game and a game against San Diego State. He’s also missed practice time with migraines.
The injuries on their own are frustrating enough; now factor in that he’s been forced to sit out practices, which takes away from: a) his understanding of the UCLA system, b) his timing and comfort on the court, and c) his cohesiveness playing with the rest of the team.
All in all, it’s been anything but a dream season for Parker.
And based on this story from Peter Yoon of ESPN Los Angeles, it looks like Parker is seriously considering transferring out of the UCLA program after the season:
It remains to be seen if he will. Parker indicated that after the season, he would weigh his options as far as returning to UCLA.
“I don’t know yet,” Parker said. “I have to talk to my parents and see what they say.”
Asked if he regretted coming to UCLA, Parker said, “No comment.”
Parker made it clear, however, that his discontent is not due to some perceived rift between him and Howland. A Georgia native, who is 3,000 miles from home, Parker said a large part of his unhappiness stems from homesickness after his first holiday season away from his family.
His health issues are also to blame, he said, and he fully understands that he’s behind because of them and that he and Howland have a good player-coach relationship.
“He’s coaching me and making me get better,” Parker said. “He’s a good coach. He’s a good person. I don’t think he’s pushing me out at all. It’s just a learning process, and I just have to keep working.”
Will Parker be the next highly-touted recruit to transfer out of Westwood?
You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.