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Forward Chandler Parsons to get big homecoming in UCF game

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Florida's Chandler Parsons returns to his hometown when the Gators play UCF in Orlando tonight. (Orlando Sentinel photo)

Florida plays UCF in the new Amway Center tonight, but it will feel like home for one Gator.

Orlando-native Chandler Parsons returns home to find his own impressive cheering section. The senior forward said his grandparents purchased at least 70 tickets, meaning many family and friends will be in attendance – aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers, high school coaches, teammates and teachers. Even his barber, who has cut Parsons hair since he was 13, is coming.

“I got a huge family. All of my family’s in Winter Park,” said Parsons, a Lake Howell graduate. “I got the whole city coming.”

Added to the excitement is playing in the Magic’s new arena. Parsons went to a preseason game this year, and his family has owned season tickets since the team’s creation in the late 1980s.

“It’s unreal,” he said of the new arena.

The game – which has the 16th-ranked Gators (5-1, 0-0 SEC) facing the unbeaten Knights (5-0, 0-0 Conference-USA) – also pits Parsons against friends. He said that he worked out with several of the players over the summer, and he knows Keith Clanton and Taylor Young from playing against each other in high school.

So with all the build-up for Parsons around this game, does he feel anymore pressure?

“I want to play well,” he said. “But I’m not going to force everything.”

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