All defense, no offense marked Eli Parquet’s first season with CU basketball

  • Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer

    Colorado's Eli Parquet ranked fourth on the team with 10 blocked shots.

  • Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer

    Colorado's Eli Parquet missed seven games near the end of the season with a knee injury.

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The Parquet file

The lowdown: 6-3 freshman guard, Beaumont, Texas

Key stats: Ten blocked shots (fourth on team) while averaging just 8.4 minutes in 26 games.

Strengths: Defense, athleticism.

Weaknesses: Shooting — .268 overall field goal percentage and 5-for-21 on 3-pointers.

(This is the second in a series of nine BuffZone.com profiles reviewing the rotation players for the 2018-19 Colorado men’s basketball team.)

Eli Parquet narrowly averted disaster.

As the Buffs prepared for a critical three-game homestand to close the regular season, Parquet’s left knee bent awkwardly at practice on Feb. 28. He avoided a serious injury but still missed the next seven games, derailing some of the modest progress Parquet had made down the stretch during his first season with coach Tad Boyle’s Colorado Buffaloes.

At the time of his injury Parquet seemingly had turned a corner, albeit a minor one. He had just been called upon at Pac-12-leading Washington to play 20 minutes, his most action in seven weeks. Parquet played the bulk of those minutes in the second half as Boyle sought a defensive spark, and the freshman guard finished with just his second two-steal game of the season. This was on the heels of a showing at Washington State that saw Parquet turn a steal into a breakaway layup and a 3-point play — which also accounted for his best scoring night in about seven weeks. (Though Parquet also botched a dunk in that WSU game that proved costly in a two-point loss.)

The knee injury stalled that progress and kept Parquet out of the lineup at the Pac-12 tournament. He also missed the NIT opener against Dayton but returned to action in the Buffs’ second-round win against Norfolk State, contributing three points in 10 minutes. Yet this offseason might go a long way in determining whether Parquet is destined to be a defensive specialist or a regular contributor on both ends of the floor.

While the quick-jumping Parquet indeed showed flashes defensively — despite his limited minutes and not playing in a total of 10 games, Parquet still ranked fourth on the team with 10 blocked shots — the 6-foot-3 guard never looked comfortable on offense. Even after receiving two midseason starts, Parquet’s five-point performance in a season-opening win against Drake remained his season-high for the duration. He finished with a .268 mark from the field (11-for-41) and was just 5-for-21 (.238) on 3-pointers. Parquet even struggled at the free throw line in limited chances, going 3-for-7. Parquet didn’t produce a glut of assists or turnovers, but finished with more giveaways (13) than assists (eight).

Young players willing to dedicate themselves to defense will always have a soft spot in Boyle’s heart, and as long as Parquet continues to put in the work at the defensive end he will find minutes in the rotation. But with the Buffs adding 6-foot-6 junior college transfer Maddox Daniels to the wing rotation earlier this week, Parquet’s minutes will remain limited until he proves he can provide adequate offense.

Pat Rooney: rooneyp@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/prooney07