Well we have finally made it through the 2008/2009 roster, and today we will be doing the breakdown of Jeremy Pargo. Last season was a banner year for Jeremy, as he was named the WCC Player of the year. His season was highlighted by incredible performances against some of the best opponents on the schedule. This included a 25 point performance against Memphis, as well as 27 points against St. Mary's and 28 against Oklahoma. However, the outcome of all these games was a loss for the Zags. Was this a reflection of Jeremy's personal performance.....absolutely not! But what these games did reveal, was that for Jeremy to get to the next level as a Point Guard he must work on making his teammates better. This theme carried over to the NBA pre-draft camps, as Jeremy was lauded for his athleticism and strength, but was encouraged to go back to school and improve on his decision making. Luckily for all GU fans, Jeremy listened, and he is back for what should be a sensational senior year.
Strengths: The reason that Jeremy is such a difficult matchup for any guard throughout the country is his size. Jeremy is built like a football player, and has the strength to match. This makes him nearly impossible to guard on the offensive end....at least when his shot is going well. There are very few guards that contain a guy with Jeremy's speed and strength off the dribble, and he has the ability to get by 99% of defenders at will. The only chance a guard has at containing Jeremy, is backing way off of him and hoping that his shot is off. This size also allows Jeremy to score quites a few baskets in the post. Jeremy also utilizes this great size on the defensive end, where he is able to use his strength to contain the quicker and smaller guards. Jeremy also fits the stereotype of the tough Chicago point guard (I cant believe that I may have just quoted Craig Ehlo). This is most apparent when the Zags go up against teams like Memphis and UCONN and even St. Mary's. Even if you are worried about how the Zags may play, or if they will match up well against the opponent, it is pretty much a guarantee that Jeremy will step up and play a great game. It was incredible last season watching him go up against Derrick Rose, and really playing him even. It is this moxie that allows Jeremy to go out and dominate the biggest games GU plays, and to go up against the #1 pick in the NBA Draft, and play him evenly.
Room For Improvement: It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out the 2 main areas where Jeremy must improve. Looking back on last season, I am truly amazed by some of the great point totals Jeremy put up, despite being an awful shooter. Keep in mind that I think Jeremy has the potential to be a 1st team All-American this season, but that will only happen if he significantly improves his shooting. Last season, Jeremy shot 26% from behind the arc, and only 68% from the free-throw line. Think about how difficult Jeremy would be to guard, if he could move that 3 point shooting percentage up to around 40%. I understand that Jeremy will never be a dead-eye shooter, but if he can just be consistent and shoot between 35-40% from beyond the 3 point line, he would be impossible to guard. I really think that Jeremy can average 15 points a game, and take less shots per game then he did last season. By getting a consistent jump shot, and returning to the 75% he made from the free throw line his sophomore season, Jeremy's scoring should improve significantly. For Jeremy to prove to the NBA people that he can be a PG at the next level, he must also improve his decision making. Jeremy is an excellent passer, and showed this by averaging 6 assists per game last season. However, Jeremy really tends to struggle with turnovers, especially when he drives to far into the lane. This is most noticeable when the Zags are in the half-court offense. It seems that Jeremy often tries to force any early basket or make a great pass, when nothing is available. I cant count the number of times I looked over and saw Mark Few yelling for him to slow down. If Jeremy can slow down, and really execute the offense, then the turnovers that plagued him should begin to go down. At the same time, it will allow for him to put his teammates in a better position to score.
Projected Role: Jeremy will be the heart and soul of this team next season. I think that he truly understands that he has an opportunity to play himself into the top-20 of the NBA draft next season, as well as lead this team to the Final 4. Jeremy must set the tone for the team, beginning in October and hopefully ending in April. Jeremy must understand, that the NBA front office doesn't want to see him dominate games by scoring. Instead they want to see a true point guard, who can score when the opportunity presents itself, as well as a player who makes his teammates around him better. Jeremy has all the talent to be an All-American next season, and I believe if he will heed the advice of the coaching staff and the NBA, we will see some incredible performances next season.
Summer Assignment: Its going to be difficult for all these guys do find a hoop to shoot at throughout the summer. Along with Meech, Bouldin, Ira, and Sacre, Jeremy must spend this summer improving his jump shot. In my mind, this is the key for Jeremy reaching his potential next season. A consistent jump shot will not allow his defender to back off, which in turn will create more scoring opportunities for Jeremy. It will also leave the key much less congested, which will allow for Jeremy to make easier passes and better decision when he is penetrating. There is no better mentor for a PG in regards to his decision making then John Stockton. Hopefully Jeremy will realize what a great resource he has at his disposal, and can utilize John's knowledge of the game.