Pavin Parrish was named North Atlantic Conference, Rookie of the Year, an honor never previously accomplished by any Spartan.
“I am surprised and humbled by being named rookie of the year. There have been a lot of great players here,” Parrish said. “Receiving this honor was never my goal coming here though. Individual awards are always awkward to celebrate. The goal has always been to win a conference championship and compete in the NCAA tournament.” In addition, Parrish also earned Rookie of the Week three times this season.
Head coach Paul Culpo lauded to what critics would probably consider, unforeseen characteristics as a freshman.
“Easiest kid to coach I have ever come across,” Culpo said. “His maturity is something rarely seen. His willingness to be a good teammate all the time is rarely witnessed.”
Being a freshman, it can sometimes be difficult to find ways to contribute your first season in any college sport. However, freshman Pavin Parrish has found no shortage of ways to contribute this season for the men’s basketball program.
“I think anytime you can contribute to or impact anything in a positive way it feels good. I obviously want to play as well as I can, but having an impact on the team feels good however big it really is,” said Parrish.
He is currently fifth in the conference in minutes played per game and his contributions in those minutes perhaps shouldn’t be a surprise. “He was Gatorade Player of the Year coming out of high school. We all had great expectations for him. I knew he would struggle in the beginning of the year but once he got that college experience under his belt, the kid was gonna be unstoppable,” Spartan teammate senior Carnelius Green said.
Junior forward, Casey McGraw credits Parrish for his maturity, but also his ability to impact others around him on the floor.
“It’s rare for a freshman to set an example on and off the court and Pavin does that day in and day out,” McGraw said. “He’s the type of player who makes others better but can also take over when he needs to.”
In 23 games played, Parrish averaged 10.4 points-per-game, 4.4 assists-per-game, a 40.4 Field-goal-percentage, and 25 total steals.
Despite these impressive numbers, Parrish’s range was limited, only going 3 of 16 from the 3-point-line; an 18.8 3-point-field goal-percentage on the season.
Culpo recognized the need for Parrish to stretch his ability to shoot not only for him as a player, but potentially for the strategic direction of the team in the future.
“He needs to increase his range on his jump shot…Ideally I would like to be able to play Pavin with other ball handling guards and spread teams out more,” said Culpo.
Green had great praise for Parrish’s ability as a pure basketball player and sees a bright future for the Spartan phenom.
“There’s no ceiling for the kid. He shows up to practice ready to compete [with] every opportunity he has and takes no days off,” Green said. “I guarantee he will lead the Spartans to the championship every year he’s here. Even further than the NAC. The kid can ball.”
Parrish’s milestone season is not something the standout freshmen will be able to relish in for very long. Culpo tests his players physically and mentally year round, constantly looking for improvement and doesn’t appear he will change that approach.
“Pavin has had a sensational freshman season. He is a game changer and someone who can take over games. If he works hard over the next few years and gets confidence back into his jump shot, the sky is the limit. I am excited to work with him over the next three years and see just how good he can get,” said Culpo.