GAINESVILLE — The reality of the situation hit Chandler Parsons hard a few weeks back.
Time is running out. His college career is almost over.
Most seniors realize it at some point during their final season. What they do about it varies. Parsons chose to make the most of it.
And No. 17 Florida is better because of it.
In Florida's past six games, Parsons is averaging 13.5 points and 12 rebounds and has posted four double doubles. He has a team-high six double doubles this season and nearly posted his first career triple double with 14 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists in Wednesday's win at South Carolina.
His improved performance, Parsons said, is a matter of taking the pressure off himself and learning to play his role.
"I've realized just take the game as it comes to me," said Parsons, who has 1,311 points and needs 30 to move into Florida's career top 20. "I'm going to take what the defense gives me but at the same time be aggressive. I'm not just trying to score, but trying to get my teammates open shots, trying to rebound."
At 6 feet 10, Parsons is one of the most versatile players in the SEC, having played every position but center, and has evolved into Florida's best all-around player.
"I think the biggest thing with him — or any player — is playing without intention," Florida coach Billy Donovan said. "Because when you go into a game with intentions to do anything or you have intentions on how the game is going to go or what you're going to try to do in a game, that's generally going to lead to a lot of bad things because the team you're playing against and the defense and their offense dictate what you need to be doing. So when you're really present in the moment … you're not really thinking about what you need to do. You're reacting to what needs to be done.
"And I think Chandler is in a place right now mentally that he's making good decisions. He's making good passes. He's rebounding the basketball. He's shooting at the right time. He's passing at the right time."
It hasn't always been that way this season.
In 33 minutes against Florida Atlantic on Nov. 23, Parsons had eight points and six rebounds; in 30 minutes against Florida State on Nov. 28, five points and three rebounds; in 31 minutes against Kent State on Dec. 9, six points and three rebounds.
The worst for the Casselberry native — six rebounds and two points on 1-of-9 shooting in 32 minutes against UCF on Dec. 1 — came in front of a large group of family and friends near his hometown.
"It was miserable," Parsons said. "That was one of the most down moments of my career, especially since we lost the game. That bus ride home was just tough.
"It definitely motivated me. I never wanted to have that feeling again as a player. I realized I can't play this bad or our team's not going to win games if I'm playing like this. I really needed to step up and realize I'm a senior and I have to play better."
Antonya English can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.