Jaquon Parker Draws Early Raves

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Lance Stephenson is the most highly-touted UC recruit in years - maybe ever - and was named the Big East Preseason Rookie of the Year on Wednesday.  But when I asked Deonta Vaughn what Bearcat newcomer has really stood out in the first few days of practice, he picked someone else.


"The guy who has really impressed me a lot is Jaquon Parker," Vaughn said.  "If you saw him in open gym you might not have thought that he was an impressive player, but he's not an open gym type player.  He's a team type of player.  He's been really tough.  He gets after it as a defender in practice and he's becoming a better player every day."


"Deonta loves him because he passes the ball," Coach Cronin said with a smile.  "Right now we're trying to put Jaquon and Cashmere (Wright) in point guard situations that will get them ready to play.  They're playing against each other with the ball in their hands and Jaquon's been the beneficiary of being on Deonta's team the last few days but that will change."


Parker was the Class AAA Player of the Year in Virginia last year, as he averaged 18.5 points, 10 rebounds, and 4.5 assists while leading King's Fork High School to a state championship.  But he didn't receive much hype from the recruiting services because he was considered a 2010 prospect before taking summer courses to gain college eligibility this year.


"Jaquon is a guy that people are definitely overlooking," Coach Cronin said.  "People know about Cashmere and everybody wants to talk about Lance, but Jaquon doesn't have some recruiting service ranking attached to his name.  Jaquon was a monster recruit for us and people are going to find out soon enough.  He is going to be an impact player and will have a tremendous career at Cincinnati.  He is a big strong guard like Anthony Buford and Immanuel McElroy but more of a point guard.  He is a tremendous competitor who makes other people better."


Parker is certainly pushing Cashmere Wright who, despite being around the team last year while recovering from a knee injury, is still a freshman when it comes to his lack of experience.


"I think Cashmere gained some knowledge and I don't have to talk to him like a true freshman because he saw it first hand." Mick told me.  "But that's not going to prevent him from having to play through some rookie mistakes.  He's still going to have to get that out of his system for the first time because he didn't get a chance to get those things out of his system.  The game is still going to be fast for him.  If you were to ask any of our newcomers, the biggest problem is that the game seems like it's going at 100 mph.  He and Jaquon are going to have to play through it and it will slow down as the year goes along."


UC is bound to have some growing pains with two freshman point guards.


But it certainly beats having no point guards.


I'd love to hear from you.  The address is dhoard@pawsox.com.


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