Parker Jackson-Cartwright is probably bigger than his listed 5-foot-9 and 145 pounds, but if you look through the history books of basketball, one will see that more times than not, smaller players are overlooked and often disregarded.
In Jackson-Cartwright’s case, he used his height to fuel his high school basketball career and he now finds himself ready to contribute to one of the best programs in the country.
Head coach Sean Miller has turned the Arizona Wildcats basketball team around quickly. Since his inaugural season in 2009, Miller has been to the Elite Eight twice (2011 and 2014) and the Sweet Sixteen once (2013). He has never posted a losing record in his career at Arizona.
Arizona's success is largely credited to Miller’s ability to recruit better than any coach in the Pac-12. He has signed big name players such as Kaleb Tarczewski, Aaron Gordon, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Brandon Ashley and most recently Stanley Johnson.
Granted, those high-profiled recruits will help any program win more games, but often times you can make an argument that players that will likely stay in college for a few years, such as Jackson-Cartwright, are just as important.
Starting point guard and returning senior T.J. McConnell was the floor general for Arizona last season. Former Wildcat Nick Johnson was capable of initiating the team’s offense when needed, but he was more effective off the ball.
Enter Jackson-Cartwright, who has the potential to provide true depth at the point guard position.
In an imperfect world, Nick Johnson still goes to the NBA, and Jackson-Cartwright commits elsewhere. If that happened, Miller could have been forced to play Gabe York at the point.
No offense to York, but that visual should be enough for the readers to put Jackson-Cartwright’s importance into perspective.
It is not just the Arizona fan base that is excited for the 5-9 sparkplug to take the court, as his teammates have had high praises for the freshman guard, too.
McConnell, for one, has been very vocal in his support for Jackson-Cartwright. Also, back in August at the Adidas Nations in Southern California, junior center Kaleb Tarczewski spoke highly of the freshman guard.
Citing that his size does not limit him and he is an extremely determined player, Tarczewski also went on to say that Jackson-Cartwright’s quickness and speed has really impressed the coaching staff and teammates.
Players often get hyped up and don't pan out, but the sense is that this could be different. For as strong as Arizona is recruiting, Jackson-Cartwright is a four-star point guard that is seemingly getting overlooked.
That is likely a mistake by those doing the overlooking, as his importance is difficult to understate. Not only is he a good player, but he gives McConnell a rest, allows Arizona to keep a true point on the floor, and keeps a good attitude along the way.
In other words, he could be just what this program needs.