Orlando Parker is a 25 year old 203cm forward from Orlando, Florida playing his third professional season and second in Germany and first with PS Karlsruhe. He started his basketball career with Wagner (NCAA) in 2010 playing a total of 118 NCAA games. As a senior he played 26 games averaging 6.7ppg, 6.7rpg, FGP: 44.7%, FT: 62.0%. In 2014 he turned professional with UL Eagles Limerick (Ireland-Premier League) playing 17 games averaging 19.9ppg, 8.6rpg, 1.1spg, 1.2bpg, FGP: 45.5%, 3PT: 42.4%, FT: 78.5%. Last season he played with Baskets Vilsbiburg (Germany-Regionalliga) playing 26 games: 22.6ppg, 9.4rpg, 1.5apg, 1.3spg, 1.4bpg, FGP: 55.6%, 3PT: 33.8%, FT: 79.3%. He spoke to German Hoops after the 74-66 victory against Weisenhorn.
Orlando congrats on the 74-66 victory against Weissenhorn. How good is basketball life at the moment for you? The team has a three game winning streak and you are playing good basketball as well?
Basketball life is going very well at the moment, our team practices very hard and we put in a lot of work every day to become a better team and individuals. And that hard word is paying off now.
Weissenhorn has the narrow 31-30 lead at the break. The game was a defensive grind out game. Why was no team able to get a better rhythm on offense?
Both teams played very aggressive defense from the beginning allowing no easy baskets, which made getting a basket even on offense even tougher. At the break we focused in on being more aggressive on the offensive end and that allowed us to get more momentum.
The game continued to be tight in the second half as there were six lead changes until the mid way point of the fourth quarter where PS Karlsruhe took over. How vital was your alley-oop dunk? Did that give PS Karlsruhe the extra energy to finally get over the hump against Weissenhorn?
I would agree that the alley-oop was the turning point for us gaining momentum along with a lot of key stops leading up to that play. Our guys had a lot of confidence and hunger down the stretch to pull out the win, so the dunk just added on to our defensive stops which lead to the break away slam.
What was key in crunch-time for PS Karlsruhe getting the win and not losing their nerves?
Coach does a great job preparing us for these kind of moments during practice. Every game no matter the opponent we are going to fight for 40 minutes. We stuck together as a team and picked each other up during crunch time, we knew that they would eventually break within the last minutes but it was going to be hard to get them to that point. And our team including the coaching staff did a great job making sure we all stayed positive.
Ps Karlsruhe have finally found their rhythm after losing the first game of the season against Frankfurt. How is PS Karlsruhe a better team now than three weeks ago?
We are still working and finding ways to put all of our pieces together, and we still haven’t reached our full potential yet with the amount of talent we have which is a good thing because on any given night anyone can step up and help the team and vitals moments.
How potent is the big man line of Jordan Talbert, Bill Borekambi and you? Is your combined athleticism something that will give PS Karlsruhe mismatches all season long?
I definitely think so including Dino who can pretty much play every position on the floor as well, it’s nice to have a versatile lineup that is capable of guard every player on the floor and coach is doing a great job with making it work.
How has the relationship between you and Jordan Talbert been growing. Does he give you advice about certain game time situations and basketball in general? He also is a guy like you that has had to prove himself in the Regionaliga and has now turned into a top pro B player.
Me and Jordan have a brother to brother relationship which helps a lot with the chemistry on the floor. We both understand our roles as well as our team goals so we get along very well both on and off the court.
You are playing your first season in the Pro B after being a rookie in a lower league in Ireland and playing German Regionaliga last season. Has all this having to prove yourself time after time made you a stronger player over the years?
I’ve been that type of player my entire basketball career so this is something new, I’ve been having to prove myself since I was in high school so that mindset hasn’t changed. I still consider myself the underdog in every team I play for and it allows me to work even harder to prove that I’m capable of playing at this level, and regardless of what the critics say I’m never going to stop doing my best just because someone doesn’t give me the credit so I enjoy playing with the mentality and it’s helped me.
You have improved your play each week. Are you slowly getting a hang of how the Pro B works?
Yes. I’m still figuring out all the teams since I’m new to the league and the level of play but coach and my teammates do a great job preparing for games so I’m just going with the flow and allowing the game to come to me.
Would you say that you are much more than just a scorer and rebounder? What do you feel is a hidden strength in your game that doesn´t get noticed right away?
One of my hidden key strengths is my perimeter defense which I haven’t been able to showcase as much yet, and on ball steals, I have good hands on defense out on the perimeter which can lead to a lot of steals.
Last season you played for Baskets Vilsbiburg (Germany-Regionalliga) playing 26 games averaging 22.6ppg, 9.4rpg, 1.5apg, 1.3spg, 1.4bpg, FGP: 55.6%, 3PT: 33.8%, FT: 79.3%. Did it sometimes feel like you were a man playing with kids?
I felt that team made me a great player, the coach and the entire team had a ton of confidence in me and it allowed me to have some in myself as well, I wouldn’t discredit the Regionalliga because there was some nights that was tough and there are a few teams that should be playing in Pro B alongside Bayern Munich.
As a rookie you played for UL Eagles Limerick (Ireland-Premier League) playing 17 games averaging 19.9ppg, 8.6rpg, 1.1spg, 1.2bpg, FGP: 45.5%, 3PT: 42.4%, FT: 78.5%. What was your wake up call to being a rookie in Ireland where you knew that you were very far away from Home in Orlando?
Probably one of the toughest moments in my pro career, previous to that stop in Ireland I played in Colombia South America alongside 3 Americans so off the court felt like being back home. But in Ireland it was different being the only American so the only thing I could do was go in the job and work on my craft and that came with being depressed not being home. Which only made me a strong person and basketball player. But I definitely enjoyed those moments because that season In Ireland taught me a lot and I worked with a tremendous coach named Paul Kelleher who I want to thank because he shaped my game a lot and he taught me how to become a reliable player for my team every game.
The well known ex Duke guard Bobby Hurley was your assistant coach from 20010-2012 at Wagner(NCAA). What was his most memorable story about what he did as a player back in the day at Duke or NBA?
Bobby Hurley was exciting to play for alongside his brother Danny. Bobby would come in everyday and still practice against us and would dominate and still play to that level which was incredible seeing. He would tell us stories on how Duke was hated during those years of success and how hard Coach K would get on them during those moments.
You played two seasons with Jonathon Williams at Wagner(NCAA) who is playing in Germany now with Pro A team Kirchheim. Is he a guy that you look up to and follow his career now?
Definitely Jon is one of the most versatile players I’ve ever played with. He pretty much can do everything. I definitely look up to his success and hopefully reach that level he’s at one day.
How did head coach Bashir Mason help groom and prepare you best for a professional career at Wagner(NCAA) in your last two years?
Coach Bashir is a well groomed coach, his defensive hard nosed mindset is something that my game has revolved around. Fighting hard each possession, diving on the floor for loose balls, making sure to high five teammates, doing the little things to help the team win definitely prepared me for my professional career.
What memories as a freshman do you have of the 78-66 loss at UCONN where you played against so much future NBA talent like Jeremy Lamb, Shabazz Napier, Andre Drummond, Alex Oriakhi and Deandre Daniels?
Great memories even considering the fact that was my best year of college basketball after Upsetting the No.15 ranked team Pittsburgh that season as well, made playing against UConn and even better memory. Even knowing that those guys would be NBA players made that game an even better feeling.
If you had to construct your own NBA Rushmore which 4 legendary NBA heads would you choose?
LeBron James, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Wilt Chamberlain.
Lebron finally won an NBA title for the Cavs. Where does he stand now in the debate with the all-time greats?
In my eyes he will be the most VALUABLE player to ever play the game alongside Wilt Chamberlain. Just because of the type of impact he made for the NBA is really incredible to see one player change a franchise within one season is unheard of alongside the unfathomable stories of Wilt Chamberlain
Kevin Garnett has retired. Where does his legacy stand with the all-time greats?
KG will leave a mark just for his style of aggression and passion for the game he’s definitely a top 30 player in NBA history.
What was the last movie that you saw?
The last movie I saw was suicide which was good considering the concept but I let it could of been better so I give it a 6.5/10.
Thanks Orlando for the chat.