Lorenzo Parker is an unselfish basketball player.
The second-year UPEI Panthers’ guard could be playing more minutes and scoring more at other universities, yet he doesn’t complain.
“I like winning a lot more than losing,” Parker said. “You can go other places, but if you’re not going to win. . .
He said scoring 25 points for a losing team is “not even cool to brag about.”
Parker was the guy on strong Horton High School teams in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley where he played for Panthers’ coach Tim Kendrick.
Now Parker provides scoring, defence and energy off the bench in Charlottetown.
“When we sub him into the game, we know we’re going to get a jolt of energy because of how hard he plays,” Kendrick said. “He plays with a lot of heart and passion.”
His play on the court is important. He averages seven points, three rebounds and nearly an assist a game. He has good anticipation that is crucial in the Panthers’ pressuring defence.
But his value to the team goes well beyond the court, Kendrick said.
“His greatest strength is his attitude,” he explained. “Everything with Lorenzo is team oriented. All he cares about is winning and losing and doing the best that he can for his team.”
Kendrick said Parker has not only accepted his role, has flourished in it, and never complained. Those qualities, he added, help build a championship-winning team.
“It would be awesome to bring a championship to Charlottetown,” Parker said.
And, he said, why not this year? The team is deep, talented and has recently been on a roll. UPEI (10-7) plays two four-point games with Memorial (2-14) this weekend in St. John’s, N.L., before coming home to finish the regular season with a home game against St. F.X. on Feb. 21.
Parker said he feels more confident and comfortable in his second year in the Atlantic University Sport (AUS) conference.
“Everyone else were so much stronger,” Parker said of his rookie season. “Last year, I was like a little boy playing with men.”
He hit the gym to add muscle to his six-foot-one-and-a-half-inch frame. He doesn’t get pushed around any more and gets to a lot of rebounds, particularly at the offensive end, because of his anticipation.
Parker is looking forward to continuing to grow his game alongside a stable of talented players. Next year’s team is looking great too with only one player, Joe Kendrick, out of eligibility and two guys with AUS experience in Tyler Scott and Bradley States joining UPEI.
Parker smiles, as he often does and says, “It’s scary what we’re going to be in the future.”
It’s a matter of execution this weekend for the UPEI Panthers women’s basketball team.
The Panthers (8-9) head to St. John’s, N.L., for a pair of four-point games with the Memorial Sea-Hawks (8-8) in (AUS) action. Games are Saturday at 5:30 p.m. and Sunday at 10:30 a.m. Atlantic.
“I think it comes down to execution at this time year,” said coach Greg Gould.
Defensively, he said, it would be key to stopping their dribble penetration and take away a couple of their three-point shooters.
“I know we’ll get shots . . . we just have to make sure that we make them,” Gould said.
The Sea-Hawks are primarily a man-to-man defensive team, but will throw some zone looks at teams. Gould said the Panthers would need to recognize it early and execute their game plan.
Forward Terrilyn Herrick is out with a sprained ankle and guard Holly Jones is attending a national rugby identification camp.
Guard Candace Smith, who has been out a month since injuring her ankle at Acadia, practiced all week and is expected to get minutes this weekend.
“She has looked good in practice the last couple of days,” Gould said Thursday. “We’re hoping she can step in and give us a few minutes in each half of each game.”
UPEI enters the weekend with 16 points, good for sixth-place in the AUS, while the third-place Sea-Hawks have 24 points and have played one less game. UPEI has one game remaining after this weekend.