Friday, May 29, 2009

ATM

Typically the lone white kid on New York City's hardscrabble courts, Mark Parisi is a baller who pales by comparison.

In Brooklyn, he's known as "soul man."

Spectators at these rugged parks have him pegged as a "whiteboy with rythm."

Others simply know Parisi as "ATM," as he's long carried the tag of moneyball shooter.

In some parks he's referred to as "white chocolate," the same moniker that stuck to former NBA guard Jason Williams.

"31 flavors" is another unique nickname that has surfaced lately.

Call him as you'd like, the lights-out 3-point assassin has certainly explored New York's hoop hotspots.

From Brooklyn's Starret City to "the cage" at West 4th St. (the former stomping grounds of Ron Artest and Anthony Mason Sr.) to the storied Rucker Park, the 5-foot-10 guard has put his fingerprints on high-pressure games.

A man of few words, coaches describe Parisi as an introvert. While his shyness is evident, Parisi announces his presence loud and clear by sticking three-pointers from the parking lot.

His body is still growing, but Parisi is starting to attack the tin. He's beginning to throw down sledgehammers with both hands, though dialing in from a different area code is slim's true calling card.

Shaped by a hoop junkie father--Coach Mark Parisi Sr.-- the young gun has become the walking definition of a gymrat.

"Mark's definitely one of the best shooters I've ever seen," said coach Eric Deemas (Brooklyn Ballers AAU), who coached Parisi on the Brooklyn USA AAU team.

"He adjusts to whatever level he's playing at. If he needs to shoot and score 40, he's going to do that. He can stick it from anywhere."

Hooping for Abyssinian Church (Harlem, N.Y.) on the grassroots circuit, the combination guard has scorched the nets while learning to run the show.

Doing more than just manufacturing points from beyond the arc, Parisi's game is growing, growing, growing...Jack and the beanstalk style.

He's the opposite of a flashy player. He changes speeds, draws defenders in and delivers a precision pass to an open big.

His basketball IQ is high, his ego nonexistent.

Watching the kid play, you'd think he sat through yoga instruction and meditation all morning. Never forcing the issue, Parisi is cooler than Snoop Dogg under nail-biting pressure...