The future of Rutgers basketball just got a lot brighter. Kwe Parker, a 4-star shooting guard from North Carolina, announced over the weekend his commitment to Eddie Jordan’s squad. The announcement is a terrific start for the Scarlet Knights’ 2016 recruiting class, and could go a long way in sparking a turnaround for the program.
So what exactly will Parker bring to the Scarlet Knights once he does arrive on campus next year? It’s obviously hard to predict the future of a player who’s still in high school, but let’s take a look at Parker’s skill set and project how he’ll contribute.
This one’s easy. To put it simply, Parker is an athletic freak. It’s always easy to go overboard when talking about high school players, but it’s pretty hard to watch Parker’s highlights without your chin smacking the floor. Don’t believe me, take a look.
The kid's got some hops for sure. Not every 6’2" guard can consistently play above the rim, but Parker is a unique kind of player. And while he clearly has a flair for the theatrical, he’s not just flash. The wing averaged 14 points a game last year and consistently made plays in the open court and in transition. He also has a lightning quick first step, and has no trouble getting to the rim.
Still, it would be wrong to categorize Parker as simply an athlete. His highlights may be primarily made up of dunks, but Parker has worked hard to shore up the finer points of his game. Along with his play above the rim, Parker is also a good ball-handler and effective defender who can get steals and chase-down blocks from behind. Time will tell how he continues to develop, but Parker should at the very least be a terrific energy guy and transition playmaker.
Although his height makes his dunks even more thrilling, it will still always have the chance of holding him back on defense. Throw in the fact that he weights just under 170 pounds and Parker will be in danger of being pushed around by bigger guards if he doesn’t bulk up. He also needs to work on his shooting. It’s not a big part of his arsenal right now, and while it hasn’t slowed him down yet, he’ll need to add a jumper to keep college defenders honest. He’s also recovering from a broken foot that ended his junior season prematurely and scared some schools away from him. Hopefully that injury won’t become a recurring issue, but it is something worth noting.
Flaws aside, Parker is a tremendously talented player and someone Scarlet Knight fans should be extremely excited about. With 4-star point guard Corey Sanders debuting this season, Rutgers will potentially have a very dangerous backcourt in a few seasons. Both players have great athletic ability, and when you combine Sanders’ playmaking skills with Parker’s jaw-dropping dunks, you get a scary combo. Who knows how Jordan will use all this new talent, but after a thoroughly disappointing first season in the Big Ten, Rutgers may be a program on the rise.