(Note: This is the second of a series of player reviews from the CU men’s basketball team for the 2019-20 season).
Like his teammates taking their turns at the two-guard spot, Eli Parquet enjoyed ample opportunity to take command of the starting role.
Also like those teammates, inconsistencies forced Parquet to shuttle between the starting lineup and the bench.
For the sophomore guard, playing time during the 2019-20 wasn’t ever a result of hot shooting streaks. When Colorado Buffaloes head coach Tad Boyle turned to Parquet, it was for a defensive spark. And whenever Parquet answered that challenge, he played as much as any player in a CU uniform.
Those moments, however, were too few and far between.
After classmate Daylen Kountz struggled in the starting role during the first five games of the season, Boyle turned to Parquet, who started the next seven games. Unfortunately for Parquet, the defensive specialist logged heavy minutes as a starter for two of the Buffs’ poorest defensive games of the season — a Dec. 7 loss at Kansas in which the Jayhawks shot .529, which tied the second-highest mark by a CU opponent all season, and a Dec. 10 home loss against Northern Iowa that saw the Panthers knock down 14 3-pointers, which was the most the Buffs surrendered the entire year.
Parquet’s time in the starting lineup ended during the Buffs’ biggest win of the year against Dayton in Chicago on Dec. 21, as Boyle pulled him from what became an overtime victory after just five minutes. Parquet played just four minutes in CU’s next game, a lopsided rout of Iona, and didn’t get off the bench at all in the first two Pac-12 Conference games against Oregon and Oregon State.
Slowly Parquet worked his way back into the rotation. After playing just one minute in a loss at UCLA, Parquet bounced back two days later with one of the finest performances of his career, playing a then-career-high 27 minutes and matching a career-high with five rebounds to help spark a win at USC. That game featured a steal and breakaway dunk by Parquet that ranks among his top individual highlights of the season.
From there, Parquet averaged 19.3 minutes over the final 11 games, including a career-high 36 minutes in an overtime loss at Utah in which Parquet posted a career-best eight points.
Parquet deserves credit for his work last offseason tweaking the mechanics of his jump shot, an adjustment that led to marked improvement from the floor. As a freshman, Parquet shot just .268 overall while going 5-for-21 on 3-pointers. This past season he improved to .385 overall with a 13-for-40 mark (.325) on 3-pointers. Parquet showed flashes on the glass but, as was the case with much of the team, he was inconsistent, with his top four rebounding games accounting for nearly half (15 of 31) of his entire season total. He finished with as many turnovers (20) as assists.
Given Boyle’s defense-first approach, Parquet is certain to remain a key part of the backcourt rotation next season, though he likely still will be in competition for playing time despite the loss of Kountz (transfer) and the graduation of guard Shane Gatling. Moving into those spots will be redshirt freshman Keeshawn Barthelemy and incoming freshman Dominique Clifford.