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|Parry Thrusts Himself Into The Valley Basketball Spotlight|
|Written by Mike Terry|
|Thursday, 24 January 2013 05:22|
Grant High Senior Has More Than Doubled His Scoring Average From His Junior Season
A Star Is Made - Grant High basketball guard/forward Tullio Parry said his spectacular progress this season is a result of hard work and dedication.
Basketball practices the day after a holiday and the day before a game are often concentrated and borderline chaotic, as coaches try to cram two days of preparation into one afternoon.
So it was no surprise that nearly every court in the Grant High small gym was taken up with boys and girls basketball players, working on everything from full court presses to three-point shooting.
One boys' varsity player stood out, a smooth operating 6-4 guard-forward effortlessly flinging jumpers that floated over the rim and gently kissed the nets as the ball came down. He is Tullio Parry, an unlikely scoring machine who is trying to take the Lancers back to the lofty heights they reached last season in the Los Angeles City Section's Division III, heights that some thought they may not reach so soon with the departure of last year's senior class.
It's not the mere fact that Parry is averaging 21.2 points per game – not to mention 10 rebounds and three assists – for the Lancers, who began the week 14-6 overall and 5-0 in the East Valley League, and were riding a 34-game league winning streak going into Wednesday's game against Monroe.
What is eye opening is that Parry, a senior, has more than doubled his scoring average from his junior year. Last season he was Grant's fourth leading scorer, averaging 9.5 points per game. And that was a decent leap from his sophomore season when he was barely heard from at 1.6 points a game.
Still, "I felt last year I should have had a bigger impact for our team," said Parry, during a break from practice. "I dedicated this offseason to getting stronger, getting fundamentals down, and becoming a leader. I'd shoot, go work out, and go shoot again. I had a personal coach, Steve Hodge, also help me out. I didn't play travel ball.
I was just in this gym and this weight room, trying to get better. "This year I'm the oldest guy. I thought we would need somebody to be (the lead player). Last year I looked up to the seniors to help me out. Now it's my time."
Still, Parry's point escalation so far in 2012-13 had to catch others by surprise. Lancers Coach Howard Levine said neither he nor the Grant assistant coaches are among them.
"We saw it coming," Levine insists. "We saw it in the summer, when he was constantly putting numbers up. And it was fairly consistent in a game; some points here, some points there, and suddenly he's got 20. And he's shooting over 50 percent. "Sometimes he doesn't shoot enough. But he can get his shots in many different ways.
He can shoot the 'three,' he can post up, he has sneaky moves to the hoop and he's also a quick offensive rebounder." The unfortunate by-product of this current athletic era is whenever a player's performance suddenly goes off the charts, a suspicion brews that his improvement comes from many sources – including some that may not be legal.
But it would be hard to suspect of Parry, who's listed at 180 pounds of getting any kind of boost from something other than exercise and a dedication to practice. In describing his frame, one assistant coach jokingly defined Parry as "a skinny kid" who was still growing into his ears.
"Who said that," asked Parry in mock indignation, before flexing his arms, then breaking up into laughter.
There's one aspect of his growing up, Parry said, that did not have an unexpected impact on his development. "I never had that huge growth spurt," he said. ""My parents aren't really tall. I may have had a growth spurt in middle school. But it's been mostly an inch a year. I started in high school at 6-1, then it was 6-2, 6- 3 and now 6-4. Never like from 5-6 to 5-10, like that."
The explanation makes sense when you watch Parry, 17, fire shot after shot during practice. He may be lean, but he's not gangly; his coordination is not trying to catch up with his arms and legs. When he shoots, everything is fluid and rhythmic.
And shoot he must. While the Lancers have others who can produce, such as junior guard Daleshaun Jackson who averages 10.2 points, and junior guard Sherman Cromartie, who averages 9.9 points, it will be incumbent on Parry to keep totaling high numbers for the Lancers to return to the Division III championship game.
That's one of Parry's goals. He hasn't forgotten the Lancer's 45-39 loss to Bell in the 2012 title game at Cal State Dominguez; a game that was tied late in the fourth quarter, and a game that Parry could have untied with a wide open three-point shot that might have propelled Grant to a victory. "I hate talking about it, honestly," Parry said. "I hate losing; I'm a very competitive person. What I do remember is not finishing.
It's a time where we had gotten a little cocky, to be honest, and that's what happens. "It was a learning experience. We didn't play great basketball. But you're gonna have those days."
There are inherent dangers when one player is the team's dominant offensive force. The player can turn into an arrogant pain, believing the world revolves around him. Or teammates can become jealous or indifferent; let that guy have all the shots, it will be easy to point fingers if the team loses.
Both Levine and Parry say they understand the balancing act required.
"I think [his teammates] are willing to feed him. But sometimes (the coaches) have to remind them we have to get the ball in his hands," the coach said.
"We want him getting his touches. We have a few guys who can score. And I hope as we get better, it will show that more."
"I realize one player can't do everything; this is a team game," Parry said. "And we've talked about teams gearing their defenses to stop me. We can run other plays in case that happens. But overall it's a team effort. But I may have to be the player who gets that extra rebound, make that hustle play."
The Lancers are currently ranked second in the City Section Division III standings. And Parry claims the team hasn't yet hit its full stride. "This team's a lot different from last year," he said. "We've had a lot of bumps in the road, we've had some issues. But I think we are gelling together. And we're looking pretty nice right now.
"The tournaments we played in are where you bring a team together, figure out who works well together. And now we're growing into one, bonded team…we are capable of getting back to the title game."
And Levine indicates that should the Lancers play again for a title in March, Parry will be a key reason.
"He's got some tools," Levine said. "He's gonna have to continue to mature physically and mentally. But he has experience, and I saw in the summer I could trust him."
|Last Updated on Thursday, 24 January 2013 05:28|