VIDEO: Parker Role' Interview
JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – This is the first part in a two-part series breaking down Carson-Newman's men's basketball team's forwards and guards for 2017-18. This feature analyzes the Eagles' frontcourt with the aid of junior forward Parker Role'.
Carson-Newman lost one senior from 2016-17's team that finished 19-11, that's 1,500-point scorer Sawyer Williams.
The second most efficient offensive player in the history in the South Atlantic Conference leaves a vacant space down low for the Eagles' offense. Williams averaged 18 points per game last year.
"Sawyer is one of the best bigs to every play here," Role' said. "It's not something that individually one of us can replace at this point. However, collectively, I think we can unite as a group to do some of the things he did."
Role' has plenty of running mates down low, chief among them Shaun Jones (Lawrenceville, Ga.). The 6-4 forward etched himself into the record books in his first season at Mossy Creek. Jones produced 13 double-doubles on the year, doubling up the previous school record.
He averaged 12.5 points per game and was the SAC's leading rebounder with a 9.9 board per game average, he had 297 for the season. Jones scored in double figures 19 times and crested the 20-point threshold on four occasions. He had at least five rebounds in all but one of C-N's game and grabbed 10 or more rebounds 17 times.
"He doesn't play like he's small," Role' said. "He's explosive and strong. He's a dog, and that's how he plays. We'll need him to do more of the same of what he did last year for sure."
Jones is the only C-N player since 1992 with multiple 15-rebound efforts in the same season. He matched C-N and SAC single-game record for field goal percentage with 12-for-12 effort at Newberry.
Role' appeared in 24 games for the Eagles with five stars in his sophomore season. He averaged 3.1 points and 2.8 rebounds per game. He shot 46 percent from the field. Role' turned in three double-digit scoring efforts. He tallied his first in his first career start at Mars Hill (12/31) with a 12-point effort in a career high 25 minutes. He knocked down all five shots he took at Anderson (1/18). Role' topped out at nine rebounds against Mars Hill as well.
That's made for one noticeable difference for Role'.
"Chemistry, we had a lot of new guys last year," Role' said. "We have a year of winning basketball under our belts and I think we're a lot more comfortable this year compared to last year with each other."
The Eagles will also be able to rely on freshman Chris Clayton (Marion, N.C.), Cameron Andre (Kissimmee, Fla.) and Brendan Coleman (Johnson City, Tenn.). Coleman could also find himself playing some guard for the Eagles.
"We tell them every day," Role' said. "Focus on the 90 percent of the time you don't have the ball compared to the 10 percent of the time that they do. We want them to thrive in that while thriving on the little things. Then take advantage of the opportunities that they have to score when they do have the ball."
Clayton comes to Carson-Newman after playing for Andy Ray at Asheville Christian where he averaged 17 points and nine rebounds per game for the Titans. He led his team on the glass with those nine boards a game. Andre averaged 13 points, 11 rebounds, two blocks and two assists per game for coach Travis James at Gateway High School. Coleman played for John Good at David Crockett High School, where he helped the Pioneers to a pair of district titles, a substate championship and the first state tournament berth in school history. Coleman led his team in rebounds as a junior and senior.
"Brendan's a really good passer," Role' said. "Clayton is bouncing and can help us with putbacks. Cam is an exceptional rebounder and should be able to help us on the boards."
Carson-Newman's position previews continue Wednesday with Mason Bates and the backcourt.