Candace Parker on - Photo Credit: Elizabeth Oliver

Candace Parker

She is a future professional women’s basketball player, but the current sophomore at the University of Tennessee seems to be enjoying every moment of where she is right now. Candace Parker’s all around basketball skills and ability to dunk has made history in women’s college basketball. The 2003 and 2004 high school player of the year is another soon to be professional star in a long list under head coach Hall of Fame coach Pat Summitt at the University of Tennessee. Candace talks about many topics regarding the season, her future, and team.

Listen to the Candace Parker CYInterview:

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Chris Yandek: Before we talk about your game and your team, how are you and how is your college semester going?

Candace Parker: “Everything is good. I just started school and classes are going well.”

CY: You had a tough loss to Duke on Monday 74-70, but you guys rallied down from 19-0 in the first half. What do you feel that you learned about yourself and what your teammates learned about this year’s team besides the ability to come back from down double digits?

CP: “I think we learned basically, that we can’t dig ourselves in that big of a hole. We were able to even the score, but we couldn’t get ahead. I think we learned a lot, that we have to be ready to come out and play every game.”

CY: Was seeing men’s coach Bruce Pearl in the student section with body paint the funniest thing you have ever seen at a basketball arena?

CP: “Yeah, it was pretty neat. It just shows our commitment, our friendship between the men’s and women’s programs.”

CY: How much hard work and dedication did it take to get to where you are right now?

CP: “I feel like it was something that was instilled in me at a young age that if you want something you have to work hard for it. I was fortunate that my parents were there to help me grow in the game of basketball and I just worked hard at it all my life.”

CY: What do you feel that you and your teammates have to improve on to get to that National Title caliber and get back to that Final Four?

CP: “Just continuing improvement and never settle. Every day we have to strive to get better at something. I feel like just recognizing problems and fixing them is gonna help us out a lot.”

CY: How do you feel physically and are your knees still giving you trouble?

CP: “I feel physically good, good for mid season. I am not having any trouble.”

CY: What is it that Pat Summitt does to motivate you ladies to perform so well on the court and as well off the court?

CP: “I feel like she treats us like adults and gives us rules. She’s always there if you need her and I feel like she just encourages us and we see how hard she works. I think to have a good role model like her, you can’t do anything but succeed.”

CY: You currently hold all the dunk records in women’s college basketball. Do you feel that even though you are just trying to get points for your team, that you have also drawn attention to women’s college basketball as a whole with your unique accomplishment?

CP: “I think that women’s basketball is at a point right now where we’re growing. We’re getting bigger and it’s a lot more popular right now than it ever has been. I feel like whatever I can bring to the game I am willing to do it.”

CY: Do you feel it is a little too much when part of the media is saying you could revolutionize women’s basketball or you take that with stride?

CP: “Honestly, I try not to listen to other people’s opinions. I just try to listen to the people closest to me and I feel like somebody else’s opinion has nothing to do with my coaches, or me, or my family. I try not to focus on that.”

CY: Do you plan to finish your education with Tennessee before moving on to the WNBA?

CP: “My education is very important. Our parents have definitely focused on that how important it is to graduate college, so yes.”

CY: Did playing basketball against your older brother Anthony Parker whose currently with the Toronto Raptors and your other older brother Marcus helped you in any way growing up?

CP: “You know, we were so different in terms of age that it wasn’t like I grew up playing against them. It was more like I grew up watching them play. I was always the kid that was brought to all the games all day and watched them play. I feel like now I have a much better appreciation when we all get together and workout and I can play with them and stuff, but when I was younger I think I just had the opportunity to watch and watched how they worked. That’s where I probably developed my work ethic.”

CY: What advice would you give to any girl currently playing high school basketball that would like to continue playing at the college level as far as what they should do overall?

CP: “Usually talent alone can’t get you anywhere. You have to put in the time. You have to have the desire to play basketball.”

CY: Finally, what would you like the readers and listeners to know about you and your teammates on this Tennessee women’s basketball program?

CP: “I feel like we are a different team this year and we have had two quality losses that I feel like are quality teams. You gotta learn from your losses. We are gonna go forward, move forward, and hopefully get better.”

I would like to thank University of Tennessee’s Courtney Tysinger for helping get this story done.

You can find information about Candace Parker, her teammates, and all other University of Tennessee women’s sports teams at

Photo Credit: Elizabeth Oliver