This edition of Bearcats Breakdown focuses on one of the less heralded players on this year's squad, JaQuon Parker. Not every player on the team makes contributions that can be seen on the court. I'm guessing that JaQuon Parker had most of his glory behind the scenes. At least, I hope that he did. Parker was the definition of sophomore slump. He never really found his footing, and never really got his game going. He showed something as a freshman, making this season all the more disappointing. Parker is going to be in a weird spot next season. But before we look forward, let's look back.
To say JaQuon Parker had a sophomore slump might be understating the situation. Parker averaged 1.5 points on 18%, eighteen percent, shooting. He hit 58% of his free throws to boot. Parker did average 1.7 boards a game. JaQuon played in 23 of the 35 Cincinnati games, starting 1. His possession % went up to 19.5, even though his floor time and minutes fell. Parker had a 112.5 offensive rating as a freshman, and saw it pummet to 74.8. Parker was just 9-49 shooting. His effective field goal % was 21.4, but his true shooting 28.9. Those were down by half. Parker hit just 3-20 three pointers, after going 17-47 as a freshman. His free throw shooting wasn't too far off pace, 14-24 compared to 20-33.
JaQuon Parker still rebounded relatively well. He pulled home 40, including 12 on the offensive end. That was 7.2% of the UC total when he was on the floor. His 1.2 defensive boards a game were 17.6% of the UC defensive total. Both percentages were up. Parker had 18 assists, but a 16.4% assist percentage. He had 13 turnovers though, which was not good. That left him with a second straight 1.4 assist to turnover ratio.
Parker started the year coming off in a reserve guard role. He had 14, 14, 13, and 19 minutes in 4 of the first 5 games. He shot 2-15 in the first 5 games though. He had 4 points against FAMU, with 5 boards. Parker's poor shooting continued, as he went 1-9 the next 3 games. He had 4 boards, and 4 assists against Toledo, but not much else to show for his effort. JaQuon threw up a season high 6 and 4 boards in a win over Georgia Southern. Parker didn't get much playing time against Oklahoma or Miami, but got a start against St Francis. Parker pulled home 8 boards with a career best 6 assists, and 2 steals. Parker was only 2-7 from the field. From there, Parker didn't see many minutes. The only game he got prime minutes in was against Notre Dame, and that was because UC was in foul trouble. Parker got 7 minutes in the Pitt blowout, but nothing more until the middle of March. JaQuon got some run in the Big East tournament, when he scored 5 against USF. He scored 2 points against UConn in his first NCAA tournament game.
This is a giant summer for JaQuon. His career is at a crossroads in some sense. The Bearcats have some big time wings and guards coming in to the program. Ge-lawn Guyn is being seen as the back up to Cashmere Wright. Shaq Thomas is seen as the guard off the bench with Sean Kilpatrick presumably jumping into the starting lineup. That starts the log jam of guys needing minutes. Mick has shown that he will give JaQuon a chance to get minutes. I mean hell, Mick stuck with Larry Davis his junior season. It's going to come down to JaQuon Parker putting in the work this summer, and most importantly, getting his confidence back. He was clearly disappointed at times when he couldn't get his shot to fall. I know it sucks when I can't get shots to fall in games of horse, it has to be on a whole new level when you are trying to get run on a major conference team. Parker has work to do on the floor, but I think the biggest remodeling job has to be inside his head. He's got to believe in his talent. If he can do that, he can be a good player to throw in the mix. He showed flashes as a freshman, and with his rebounding, he can make a difference.