Players try not to overdo it on TV

December, 15, 2011
12/15/11
1:00
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Tony Parker likens it to a temporary madness that erupts suddenly.

The faster you contain the mess it inevitably makes, the more success you’re likely to have.

“It’s just something about those TV cameras,” said Parker, a senior forward whose No. 2 Miller Grove (Lithonia, Ga.) squad faces No. 3 Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) at 8 p.m. ET Thursday on ESPN. “They can make you, but they can kill you too. “

For that reason, Parker and a handful of other elite players who have experience playing on national TV are being proactive in preaching to their teammates about fighting off the urge to ham it up for the cameras.

The 2011-12 GEICO ESPNHS Basketball Showcase will feature 16 televised games on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN3. This year’s Showcase will highlight the top nine teams ranked in the POWERADE FAB 50 preseason rankings.

“It never fails you’ve always got someone who’s doing something that they wouldn’t normally do because they’re on TV,” said Julius Randle, a junior forward whose Prestonwood Christian (Plano, Texas) squad will play No. 15 Grace Prep (Arlington, Texas) at 7 p.m. ET Thursday on ESPNU. “It’s crazy. I mean on one hand I understand what they’re thinking, but on the other hand it’s like, ‘Come on, forget all that, we’ve got to win this game.'”

The ironic part for Isaiah Austin, a senior center at Grace Prep, is that, in his opinion, the best way to stand out is to stay within the parameters of your game.

“It’s like if you want to get noticed you’ve got to stay with what you’re good at,” said Austin, a Baylor signee. “The crazy thing is that most players don’t understand that most people notice the small things and not so much the big things. It’s supposed to be all about the win.”

That’s the part that’s baffling for Oak Hill point guard Tyler Lewis.

“The players want the fans watching on TV to be impressed with their play,” said Lewis, a North Carolina State signee. “But the thing is it comes back to haunt them because they’re doing too much and that leads to mistakes.”

For Parker and the Wolverines, who are working on a state title four-peat and eyeing a No. 1 national ranking, mistakes need to be kept to a minimum.

“I’ll tell my teammates that the best way to shine is to not get out of character,” Parker said. “You’ve just got to play your game and the rest will take care of itself. A good way to get noticed is to play hard and do what you do every day, but the best way is to win.”

Jason Jordan is the basketball editor for ESPNHS. He can be reached at jason.x.jordan.-ND@espn.com. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter: @JayJayESPN.

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