Tourney Talk: CHD interviews Stephen F. Austin forward Jacob Parker

SFA JR SF Jacob Parker was named Southland Conference Player of the Year earlier this month and had a double-double on Saturday with 10 points and 12 rebounds in a 68-49 win over Sam Houston State in the conference tourney title game.  CHD’s Jon Teitel got to chat with Parker immediately after the selection show to get his thoughts on playing against #5-seed VCU in San Diego this Friday.

paker sfa

Why did you choose to attend SFA? It is a lot like my hometown because it offers a lot of outdoor activities like hunting and fishing, and I was also excited about their winning culture.

You play for Coach Shut up Underwood; how has he been able to come in and be so successful in his very first year as coach? We have a lot of interchangeable parts with guys who can do a lot of different things.

Last March you had four rebounds in a one point loss to Stanford.  What did you learn from that loss that can help you this week? Postseason play comes down to the little things, and knowing that we fell short gave us a chip on our shoulder that we played with all year long.

You started this season 3-2 before winning your final 28 games, did it reach a point where you just expected to win every single time you stepped on the court? You can never doubt yourself: if you do not believe in yourself, who will?!

In November you scored eight points in a 10 point loss to Texas, which happens to be the only fellow tourney team you faced this year.  What makes the Longhorns so good, and do you think your schedule has prepared you to face the best teams in the nation? Absolutely. The Texas game came down to one possession. I think we are ready: we have a lot of experience under our belt and are playing good ball right now.

All of your stats have increased dramatically during each of your three years on campus.  How have you been able to keep improving from year to year? I did individual workouts every summer and it just shows that it paid off.

Your team’s win total has also gone up every year since your freshman year: what is the biggest difference in the program from your freshman year to now? Our team chemistry and bonding, we all like each other and are a big family.

You were named Southland POY this year.  What does it mean to you to win such an outstanding individual honor like that? Just to be included in the field with all the other great players in our conference was very humbling: it was a blessing that they picked me.

Thomas Walkup was named conference tourney MVP the other night: how was he able to play his best when it mattered the most? I have been saying for the past month that he has been playing very well. We have a very balanced scoring team so anyone can come out and have a big night.

What do you think about your #12 seed, and what do you know about VCU? All I know is that they press the entire game, so we just have to stay true to who we are and not get rushed into their tempo.