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Opinion: Is Morgan Tuck the next Candace Parker? Let’s wait on that

Can the next Candace Parker be found in Bolingbrook?

That’s what some sportswriters are breathlessly asking after watching Bolingbrook High School freshman Morgan Tuck look absolutely stunning in leading the Raiders to the Illinois High School Association Class 4A state title.

Parker, a Naperville Central graduate, is one of the greatest female basketball players to come out of Illinois. She made national news when she dunked a basketball as a high school sophomore. Anyone who thought she was a one-dimensional player just because she was known for her dunk quickly changed that opinion after watching her play.

She had a brilliant career in high school, the University of Tennessee and is currently a star in the WNBA.

Now comes Tuck.

The Bolingbrook freshman had plenty of hype surrounding her before she even walked in the door at Bolingbrook High School. Illinois and Purdue are just two colleges who were impressed by her in summer play while she was in grade school.

And throughout the season, the hype kept building as her point and rebound totals kept soaring.

On March 7, Tuck scored 17 of her team’s points in a 53-29 IHSA Class 4A state championship victory over Whitney Young High School to help give Bolingbrook its second state title in four years. After the game, she was busy talking to the media including an interview with the IHSA television network.

The 6-foot-2 forward set the tone early against the powerhouse Dolphins by scoring 12 points in the first quarter including a pair of 3-point baskets. Keep in mind that in her first 25 games on the varsity, she hit just eight 3-pointers. So on the biggest stage of her career, she did things even she isnt used to doing.

That stunning first-quarter performance was very Parker-like, no doubt about it.

And after the game, she told reporters it was “humbling” and she was “honored” to be compared with Parker.

The trouble is this. The world seems to be looking for “the next…” How many “next Michael Jordan’s” were there? Plenty. How many actually were the next Michael Jordan? Umm

Tuck averaged close to 19 points and 11 rebounds per game. She has a rare chance to win four state titles. She is stupendous, amazing and any other superlative in the books.

But calling her the next Parker does not do her justice. Too many things can happen between now and 2012, when she graduates.

The backlash is such that if she doesn’t get up to Parker-like levels, her career could be lessened in the eyes of some and thats not fair.

My humble advice is to just go out and watch Tuck play the next three years. Enjoy the experience. Marvel at the athleticism. Pick up your jaw after she astounds you. Know that you are seeing a rare athlete in action.

Oh, and don’t worry about comparing her with anyone.

The next Candace Parker? What’s wrong with being the first Morgan Tuck?

 

By Jeff Vorva

Triblocal.com reporter

 

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