After we posted recently on Bobby Ray Parks, Jr., who signed a letter of intent with Georgia Tech while he was on a recruiting visit to New Mexico, a reader who calls himself only Boy, sent us these remarkable notes on his recruitment.Â A lot of it we didn't know, but we have long been aware of the utter passion Filipinos have for basketball.Â Honestly, it's more popular there than it is here.Â There used to be a team called something like the Mighty Meaties, but now we'd either have to pull for the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, the San Miguel Beermen, or the Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters.
Also, while we hope Bobby Sr. recovers, if he thinks the Philippines is a better path to the NBA (via international competition) than American college basketball, he's nuts. Thanks for the send, buddy!
It's NU not BU, NU stands for National University.
It seems counter intuitive given the average height of Filipinos, but in the Philippines basketball is the number 1 sport by far and is played year round.Â There are no professional leagues for American football, soccer, or baseball or anything else.Â The professional basketball league (PBA) copies the NBA as far as style of play and rules (they don't use FIBA rules).Â College basketball is also a big deal given their insane craving for more basketball, recruiting is intense, particularly for half-Filipinos who were raised in the US and have height and superior skills.
There are a few things you should know about the Ray Parks story.
1. He was raised in the Philippines but came the the US in middle school for more competitive basketball
2. His father, Bobby, is diagnosed with head and neck cancer and does not have the means to pay for care in the US anymore given that he was unemployed
3. Bobby Parks Sr. was "hired" by NU as a "consultant"
4. Ray Parks is spending his last year of high school either being "home schooled" or taking classes at NU or both
5. It is likely that if he stays there he will play at NU. NU is not known for basketball prowess but a big "booster/University affiliate" , Henry Sy, "convinced" Bobby Parks Sr to "work" for NU
If Philippines college basketball were like the ACC, NU would be Clemson, rarely winning the ACC because they can't get the recruits or the coaches.Â Ray Parks changes the game because as a 6'4" guard he is as big or bigger than the most of centers in Philippine college basketball. Guards are typically 5'8" to 5'10".
6. Most importantly, if Ray Parks is allowed to play for the Philippine National Team (sponsored by the SMART corporation) the chances of staying in the Philippines is much higher. Right now the foreign coach (Rajko Toroman, formerly Iran's head coach) believes Ray Parks is too young and inexperienced.Â Bobby Parks Sr. though disagrees. If Toroman gets fired over the next year, which he may because Filipino's have an unrealistic view that they will qualify for London Olympics even though the national team has not won or placed high in any significant tournaments in the last 20 years, then Ray Parks will likely stay.Â They believe that international exposure may be a better stage for Ray Parks than Georgia Tech/ACC, to make it to the NBA.
Filipinos are so proud of their basketball prowess even though they have not improved in years [and have never] sent anyone to the NBA.Â The third place-finish by the Philippines in the 1954 World Championships (Now FIBA), which was a very long time ago,Â is still the best finish by an Asian country.
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