Arizona Wildcats coach Sean Miller was talking last week about the need for a point guard in the 2014 recruiting class.
“That’s a really, really big thing for our program that we get that right,” he said.
For Arizona’s sake, here’s hoping Parker Jackson-Cartwright is Mr. Right.
Jackson-Cartwright, a 5-foot-7 junior from Los Angeles Loyola High School, committed to the Wildcats on Sunday on his visit to Tucson.
Scout.com ranks Jackson-Cartwright as a five-star recruit and the sixth-best point guard in the class. ESPN.com tabs him as the No. 7 point guard nationally. Rivals.com and 247Sports rank him similarly and put him among the top 50 players in the nation.
Arizona primarily beat out UCLA for Jackson-Cartwright, usually described as a pure point guard with a terrific basketball IQ.
He’ll arrive for the 2014-15 season, when another high-IQ point guard, T.J. McConnell, will be a senior at Arizona. The Duquesne transfer is redshirting this season.
Miller hasn’t been able to establish anything long-term at the point guard position in his four years at Arizona. Nic Wise had just one year of eligibility left, MoMo Jones transferred after his sophomore season, Josiah Turner was asked to leave after his freshman season and Mark Lyons is a one-and-done graduate transfer.
The combination of McConnell and Jackson-Cartwright puts Arizona on a promising long-range path, and both players have highly-skilled passing games, which is something Miller has lacked in a point guard at Arizona.
“The point guards that I have coached here at Arizona have been much different than the style that I played,” said Miller, who was a pass-first point guard at Pitt.
“But that doesn’t mean anything. A few years ago, we had MoMo Jones as our point guard, and he was more combo maybe than point. It worked out just fine that year. … Mark Lyons is kind of the same in terms of he can really score and maybe he’s not a true point guard, but it’s worked out pretty good for us.
“Sometimes when you have that complete and total floor general, it makes the game look a little smoother, but at times maybe you don’t have that scoring punch.”
Jackson-Cartwright’s size might be a concern, but his vision, quickness and savvy make him a force on the court. And he still has time to grow.
I saw Parker Jackson-Cartwright past summer a few times — and was extremely impressed. Arizona getting a point who can make others better.
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanCBS) February 24, 2013
— Jamal Adams (@CoachJAdamsLHS) February 24, 2013