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WHO'S ON POINT?

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jaquon parker.jpegcashmere wright.jpeg

      The point of the matter is the Bearcats do not have anyone established at the point. Is it Cashmere Wright? Jaquon Parker? Lance Stephenson? Larry Davis? Rashad Bishop? Or, back to Deonta Vaughn?

      This year, it's been pretty much "all of the above".

      Early on this season, the job belonged to Cashmere Wright. When he faltered, several Bearcats had the chance to step in. Just over a week ago, it looked like Jaquon Parker had stepped to the forefront.

     Then, Cashmere Wright comes roaring back with a decent game at Louisville.

     The latest solution appears to be a "platoon" system. This coming off Parker having a 15-point, five assist game against South Florida, with Wright coming back with a 12-point effort against Pitino's Cardinals (matching the career-high he'd had twice before).

      "They're doing well," said Cronin when asked about the rotation. "Both those guys have really maintained a good work ethic throughout the season. Fortunately, it looks like they finally got to a point where they're both playing well and playing confident--to a point where if Deonta needs a rest they may both play together."

      Vaughn himself has take a few turns at the point, but the game plan this season was to let him play at the "two" so that he'd get more shots. He feels the two freshman are finally getting a grasp on how hard it is to play the point in the Big East.

      Looking at numbers, Wright is slightly the better scorer per game (4.8 compared to Parker's 4.3).

     However, Wright's played 317 minutes this season compared to Parker's 184, to put it in better perspective. In terms of shooting, Parker's 50 percent from the field, 36 on threes, while Wright's hitting 35 and 34 percent respectively.

      "Right now, they're probably our second and third-best perimeter shooters," said Cronin.

      Breaking down the tandem is tough, as they both can bring positive aspects to the game. Deonta Vaughn has observed each player in practice and in games.

      "Cash shoots it better, Park is strong for a guard," he said. "Jaquon's more vocal than Cash and is a better rebounder."

      Different players, different games. Wright appears to be "quicker to the hole" (he just needs to convert the lay-ups). Parker looks like the better defender. Neither can be pinned down as the reason for the loss at Louisville.

      "They weren't the culprits," said Cronin. "Our turnovers were more from Rashad (Bishop) and Dion (Dixon) and Deonta really. Cash and Park really weren't the cause of any of our turnovers. Against Louisville's pressure they didn't turn it over one time all day."

      That's a key stat. Road turnovers can kill you as the Bearcats have experienced a time or two this season.

      "Those guys are doing a pretty good job right now," said Cronin of Wright and Parker.

" We've got to get our interior defense shored up and we've got to get our pick and roll defense cleaned up."

      Oh yeah, and they've got to get ready for another Big East foe that'll be far from a cupcake in Providence. The Friars play a different brand of ball and Mick Cronin has yet to have a team beat them.

      "One thing about Providence, they can score (and they beat UConn Wednesday night)," said Cronin. "They'll shoot it quick, they shoot it early in the shot clock more so than most of the teams we play. They're a lot different that some of the teams they play. They play a match-up zone which no one else in the conference plays."

      Whether or not the starting point guard will be Jaquon Parker or Cashmere Wright probably won't be decided 'til Saturday night. They've won with both and they've lost with both. The long-term look is that both of these guys are going to be around three more years after this season.

      While it continues to be a "crutch", the fact is the Bearcats have at times started just one senior (Vaughn) with another upperclassman that's really only played organized ball for about four years (Thomas). From there, it's two freshmen (Stephenson and Wright/Parker) and a sophomore (Gates).

      For those pounding their head and grinding their teeth at night, you get tired of hearing it, but better days ARE ahead. It's just that most of us would just as soon see those days begin with this Saturday.


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