The main catalyst (along with fellow backcourt mate Shannon Scott) behind his team's upset victory over #1 ranked Oak Hill , this was needless to say an excellent weekend for highly touted guard Dai-Jon Parker (#36 Scout, #57 Rivals, #47 ESPN).
Undersized for a shooting guardthe position most recruiting services project him at the moment-- but showing solid height for a point, Parker has a strong frame, good length and solid athleticism.
Offensively, Parker shows a pretty complete game for a player his age, as he's capable of contributing to his team in a variety of different ways. He has a nice first step and solid ball-handling skills, able to create his own shot smoothly and finish around the paint with a floater or even the occasional dunk. He has solid court vision and a good basketball IQ, having no qualms about passing the ball ahead unselfishly in transition and making some very intelligent drive and dish plays. Also an effective outside shooter, Parker has nice mechanics on his jumper, getting good elevation off the floor, and is adept at making shots with both his feet set and off the dribble, even if he is prone to streakiness depending on the momentum of the game.
Criticized at times for being somewhat deferential, Parker lacks a degree of aggressiveness, not always taking the ball strong enough to the basket, instead relying on his mid-range game rather than drawing contact in the paint.
Defensively, Parker has nice physical tools, strong fundamentals and plays with good energy, something that will help him see plenty of minutes at Vanderbilt early on his career. He played excellent man to man defense in the game we saw, and did a good job off the ball as well.
Mostly playing as a shooting guard on the AAU circuit and with his high school team, we'll have to wait and see if he can operate effectively as a point guard at the college levelsomething that will dictate his long-term potential. While he may not have a great deal of experience at the position, he shows the potential to make the conversion with his ball-handling ability, court vision and feel for the game.
All things considered, Parker looks a little bit underrated based on what we've seen, and could emerge as a very interesting prospect down the road for Vanderbilt. Guards with his combination of athleticism, versatility and smarts just aren't that easy to come by, especially if they can play on and off the ball and on both ends of the floor.