Originally posted on The Terrapin Nation  |  Last updated 11/8/11

With the beginning of the regular season days away, it’s time for Terps Insider’s player-by-player breakdown of the 2011-2012 Maryland Terrapins. We begin the series with  Mychal Parker. 

Mychal Parker came into the 2010-2011 season with lofty expectations. After all, he was the highest ranked of Maryland’s incoming freshmen and had all the physical tools to become a star at the collegiate level. But Parker struggled picking up Gary Williams’ flex offense and often times looked lost out on the court.

Mychal Parker had become almost somewhat of an afterthought this past offseason.

Fast forward to two weeks ago when Maryland announced Pe’Shon Howard would miss a minimum of 10 weeks due to a broken foot and all of a sudden Mychal Parker becomes an important key to this year’s success.

Parker played sparingly last season, seeing action in only 13 games and averaging just 6.2 minutes of court time in those games. But Parker showed flashes of ability and a well rounded game. Against UNC Greensboro, Parker had 4 points, 5 rebounds and two assists in just 11 minutes of playing time. He also showed off his tremendous athleticism with a highlight reel dunk versus Colgate. For the season, Parker averaged 1.3 points and 1.3 rebounds per game with a total of 6 assists, 1 steal and 1 block.

Looking at those numbers a little more closely however, there is reason for optimism for this season. On a per-40 minute basis, Parker averaged 8.5 points and 8.5 rebounds. And while Parker almost certainly won’t be playing a full 40 minutes per game, he could very likely see 30 minutes plus in some games early in the season. In the Terps exhibition opener against Northwood, Parker had 4 points, 4 assists and 5 rebounds in 26 minutes of action. A nice, well rounded stat line to be sure. 

If Parker is able to pick up Mark Turgeon’s offensive system and work hard on the defensive end, he’ll have the chance to greatly benefit from Pe’Shon Howard’s extended time on the sidelines to begin the season. If Parker can get to the line and knock down his free throws and hit some open jumpers within the offense, there is no reason he can’t average double digit scoring and 5 plus rebounds a game. The talent is there, it’s up to Parker to put it all together.

Best-case: Parker comes out of the gate focused and assertive on the offensive end of the court. He is able to consistently hit his free throws and knock down the occasional three-point shot. If he does that, he could develop into a strong secondary scoring option on the wing.

Worst-case: Parker has difficulty staying focused. He struggles to pick up Turgeon’s motion offense and continues his struggles from the foul line, failing to reach his full potential.

Quotable: “(The year) really didn’t go as I planned it; Some of that was my fault because I came in immature. I was really enjoying college life and not focused, but all of that was a learning process for me. I want to thank coach Gary Williams for sitting me down and benching me because it really taught me to be hungry. I don’t want to experience that again.” – Parker in a May interview

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