Big East Breakouts: Cincinnati’s Jaquon Parker
One of the more surprising teams last season was the Bearcats of Cincinnati. They made it to the finals of the Big East tournament and the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA tournament, knocking off top schools like Syracuse and Florida St. on their way. Cincy benefited greatly from breakout players, which just reiterates why these players I’m writing about are so crucial to the upcoming season. Sean Kilpatrick broke out into a star and Cashmere Wright and Dion Dixon saw significant improvements as well. However, Jaquon Parker is a player who had a breakout year last season, but is looking to have another one.
The ‘Cats will miss Dixon and Yancy Gates, but because of their core, they will contend in the conference. Parker, who will enforce Cincinnati’s strong backcourt with Kilpatrick and Wright, will be a huge reason for that.
Parker has upped his scoring thanks to bettering his offensive game. He’s shown poise in driving to the basket and shoots at a very good percentage from behind the arc. He can rebound as well, but his intangibles are his biggest asset.
When Cincinnati was flustered in the begining of last season, Parker was hurt. When he returned, they got back onto the right track. Head coach Mick Cronin called Parker a “glue guy” which was the same term that Notre Dame‘s Mike Brey used for Scott Martin. He holds everything together and every great team needs that.
This coming season, Parker will have a bigger role, but still be in charge of keeping the team together. He’ll be a senior. so I expect him to step up and be the leader of the Bearcats. In a season where a lot of Big East squads seem poised to win a bunch of games, Parker will keep Cincinnati in the title picture.