If there was a bright side to be found in UCLA’s loss to Stanford on Saturday -- and there may only be one -- it was center Tony Parker’s solid play.
It was the fourth consecutive game that the 6-foot-9, 255-pound sophomore has delivered a consistent performance. He made six of eight shots and finished with 13 points in an 83-74 loss.
Parker has made 14 of last 17 shots and averaged 8.3 points in those four games, three of which were UCLA victories.
“He has put in his time, in the weight room and the film room,” Coach Steve Alford said.
That can only help the Bruins come NCAA tournament time. Though Travis and David Wear are both 6-10 and cause matchup problems with their outside shooting abilities, Parker is the team’s lone post player.
“The one legit center we have is Tony,” Alford said. “I think the last four games he has been terrific.”
Parker is averaging 7.4 points per game while making 63% of his shots this season. He has added a turnaround jumper to his game in recent weeks. It’s a tool given to him by assistant coach Ed Schilling, who works with UCLA’s big men.
“It’s a favorite shot of his,” Parker said. “Coach Schilling has been great. He make things fun.”
The other part of Parker’s game that has improved is his ability to stay in games.
“He would get in foul trouble because he was leaning on people,” Alford said. “He’s been doing his homework. He is watching how other centers are being guarded and how they play. He does a real good job in the film room. Does this big [man] like his left shoulder? Does this big [man] like going with his right shoulder? Is there a certain block he likes to work on?”