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August 20, 2009

Coach: Terps got a 'steal' in Parker

Tony Squire has coached his fair share of talented players in the past.

Kevin Garnett, Amare Stoudemire and Ray Allen all suited up for the Squires Boys Basketball Foundation -- an AAU program based in Richmond, Va. -- at one time or another, not to mention countless other former and current Division I players who donned the uniform.

The next great Squires alumnus could be Mychal Parker, a 6-foot-6 small forward from the Miller School in Charlottesville, Va., who committed to Maryland late Wednesday night.

“I think it’s a great catch for Maryland,” Squire said. “I don’t think Mike has reached that plateau like so many guys do at that age. He still has a ways to go and it’s nothing but upside in his game. I think he should come in and be able to help Maryland right away as a true freshman.”

Parker, the No. 53 player in the 2010 class according to, picked the Terps over offers from Virginia, Clemson, Miami and several others. The four-star prospect finished his AAU campaign this summer with the Ohio Basketball Club, where he has family in the area. But Parker spent most of his past four summers with the Squires.

In Squire’s opinion, Parker most resembles one of those aforementioned NBA standouts.

“I’ll say this lightly, because I don’t get caught up in prose when kids are in high school because I believe you have to crawl before you walk and take the necessary steps,” Squire said. “But he reminds me of a similar version of Ray Allen at this stage in the game. Ray just had that demeanor back in high school. Certain games Ray would take over, and in other games he would just be a good player, and I think that’s the thing with Mike right now. ... [I’ve seen him] take over games on several occasions, and that’s the part of Mike’s game that’s going to come with maturity, being more consistent. He can be the type of kid to take over the game.”

Parker comes from rural Washington, N.C., population 10,000. He spent his freshman year at Southside High, a public school, and his sophomore season at Terra Ceia Christian School. Parker’s father, Omar, was looking for a school that would give his son greater exposure for basketball. Squire pointed the Parkers in the Miller School’s direction. According to Squire, Parker has benefited from his father’s basketball awareness and knowledge.

“He comes from an old-school parent,” Squire said. “Mike’s dad would get up early in the morning and work him out. Then they’d take a break, rest, eat lunch and do all that other stuff. And then in the evening Mike’s dad would work him out again and do the same thing all over again. ... He never missed a workout, so the sky’s going to be the limit for him. Maryland just got a steal.”

One of Squire’s greatest success stories from his time as an AAU coach was Bambale Osby, the former Maryland center. Osby grew up in a rough part of Richmond, Va., but played AAU ball with the Squires and eventually earned a scholarship to New Mexico. He spent freshman year in Albuquerque and his sophomore season at Paris (Texas) Junior College before transferring to UM, where he averaged 11.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.1 blocks as a senior. The 6-foot-8, 250-pounder recently signed a contract to play in Germany’s top pro league.

While the games of Osby and Parker couldn’t be more different, their attitudes are close to identical. Squire expects Parker to have similar success at UM -- thanks in large part to the man in charge in College Park.

“It’s a different breed of kid now because so many kids have the choice of going the wrong way,” Squire said. “Bambale Osby was a prime example. He didn’t come from a lot, so he had to work. We had to get him working ... doing things the old-school way. ... And that’s why Bambale Osby plays the way he plays. He took [ownership of his life] and he appreciated the type of [opportunity he got at Maryland]. For a guy like me, looking at coaches, there are certain guys you just come to admire after being in the game for a long time, and Gary Williams has always been one of those guys.

“You never have to worry about the kid talking back or having any disciplinary problems. He listens and he wants to learn and get better. Having a coach like Gary Williams, who won’t spoil you, who won’t kiss your tail, [will be great for Parker]. I think Gary Williams is going to bring out the best in Mychal Parker. By the time Mike’s a sophomore, get ready to see a major type of guy.”

According to Squire, Virginia was Parker’s leader for most his junior season -- until coach Dave Leitao left Charlottesville. Leitao’s replacement, former Washington State coach Tony Bennett kept the Cavaliers in contention, but the Terps began to emerge as a favorite soon after.

“He’s been saying Maryland was in the lead [for awhile] because ever since he went up there to their elite camp, he liked the campus [and was comfortable],” Squire said. “He made visits to a few places. He went to Virginia’s elite camp and he went to Maryland and he really loves it up there. And I think Mike sees that he can come in and be an integral part of Maryland early.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 6:39 PM | | Comments (9)


Gary lands another one! He's done a nice job bouncing back after all the criticism he got (and deserved) last year over recruiting. Gary has always shown what a great coach and teacher he is. He recruited well for 10+ years, then hit a little lull. The Terps are on their way back to the top.

Great job by Gary! When Gary is at his best, he is hard to beat. Whether or not he gets back to the final four is a question, but watching him develop this crew he has coming in will be worth more than any final four could be! Well Done!

Now we need to finish off recruiting with a big strong banger with upside and this may be the kind of group we should have gotten after our championship. These kids are all hard workers with talent, not spoiled stars. So bring on Jones and lets go down to Cameron and kick some......

If you look at the two recruiting classes right after Terps' consecutive final fours,they all four stars players (> four players each year), and the classes ranked pretty high nationally. Even Dupree was a four stars coming in. Sometime, it just don't pen out that way. Keep your excitement down, so you don't spoiled these stars as you did earlier this decade.

Apparently Ross played a huge role in landing Parker. Let's hope he does the same for Jones.

CHL, you make a good point. I think Gary learned his lesson when that all started at Midnight Madness. That class was doomed from the start and had bad chemistry, although they did win the ACC Tourney. I believe these players are more of Gary's type. They are hard workers, talented, and from what I hear, very coachable. That was our formula for success in 2002. But as you said, we shall see but it is very encouraging. I have to think we have one or possibly two more big names coming in since it should be easier to convince them at this point. Especially with Ross playing in games with our key remaing prospects. He will be in their ear for sure if heis not on the phone now already.

Things are looking up! Lets Go, Maryland!!!

Good point CHL The real dissapointment to me was Travis Garrison, who just didn't have any heart. But that is the past. The team the MD coaching staff is putting together looks like they have heart. They need one more guy, either Jones or Johnson. I think they'll get Ernie Graham's kid. He's a real sleeper.

By the way, thanks for the Bambale Osby update. One of my favorites. I'm glad he found a place to play.

This is to Go Terps on other link, regarding the Post, that I have difficulty in posting.

Actually the Post's coverage last year reveal on why Gary did not get most of his targets and tried to portrait him as a guy upheld his standard even everyone else didn’t. The coverage may well help Gary’s recruit this year and many years to come. What a reasonable AAU couch or a real middleman would want to have his name casted as a villain/shadowy figure in the Post’s future series if Gary had continued to not get his guys. I think after the Post's coverage, it gave Gary a free pass/leverage to the recruit world nowadays.


That's a reasonable perspective. One of the things that has really bothered me is the fact that, overall, Williams has run a clean program and won doing it. No one wins all the time in sports or in life.

The Pitino and Calipari cases reflect the kind of win at all cost attitude that pervades college sports. I want my school to win, but not cheat.

Of course, not everyone cheats. But I'd rather have a coach like Williams than practically any other coach in the country.

Back to the Post. The three part series they did on Williams and the program neglected many successes of the Williams era and highlighted the negatives. It seemed to me the Post was trying to take Williams down. People have short memories and forget just how bad it was before Willimas got to Maryland.

The Sun has been more thorough and fair in their coverage, which is sort of odd considering the accusation the program has a problem recruiting in Baltimore (Mosley, Gregory and Bowie)

But you make a good point I hadn't thought about.

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About Matt Bracken

Matt Bracken was a lightly recruited football and tennis prospect out of East Lansing (Mich.) High School in 2001, but spurned all (nonexistent) scholarship offers to attend the University of Michigan. Matt graduated from UM in 2005, earned a master's degree in new media journalism from Northwestern University in 2006, and spent the first 11 months of his career as an online producer / videographer / blogger at the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson. He has worked at The Baltimore Sun since July 2007, where he currently serves as the deputy sports editor for digital.

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