Not everyone on the team can be the star player every single game. For many players the goal is to find their role and take it. Sure you may not ever be a statistical leader but you can still make a meaningful impact on a team. Players can make it far by knowing what they’re good at and working on it.
This is especially true on a team like Nebraska who has had a hard time finding scorers over the past few years. Yes, you have teams like Kentucky and Kansas who get the top recruits at every position and can not only shoot but also rebound and if they’re feeling generous some assists. But most teams are not that lucky.
It takes a lot for any player to go into a program and get significant playing time their freshman year. To walk on to campus, still a little wet behind the ears and play 33 games your first year in Division 1 is an achievement for anyone playing the game. No matter how good or bad the team is on the court.
Benny Parker did just that.
Yep, Benny Parker, the point guard who Nebraska fans had a hard time wrapping their head around at times has been playing since he walked on campus. He was rarely the star but always contributed to the team. Probably more than we could see from the stands. In fact, he’s second to Cookie Belcher in total games played with 130.
He also had 69 assists during that first year. A statistic that he wouldn’t break until his senior season. I bring up the assists because of the role it plays in basketball. It’s always mentioned, but rarely looked at by most fans. Unless you’re a big scorer or rebounder you’re probably not going to get that much attention from the fans and press. However, it’s still contributes to the game and is an important cog in the machine.
Benny was not the most sought after player to come out of Kansas City but Tim Miles must have liked what he saw out of the 5’9” guard. He was fast and knew the game well.
He was never one that got much of the headlines for most games. While he did lead the team from the top, he never really had the statistics that sold papers. He was too small to be a rebounding threat and not the best shooters to help secure a win in the scoring column. He brought the ball down the court for guys like Shevon Shields, Tai Webster, and Andrew White. Guys who could score. On defense, he would stick to his man like glue. He made it hard for anyone to get to the basket and utilized his size and speed for the occasional turnover.
Remember how I said that he had 69 assists as a freshman? That was second on the team and he wasn’t even a starter at that point. No, he couldn’t make it rain like Andrew White III or Terran Petteway but he could give defenses nightmares averaging 2.2 assists and 1.2 steals a game.
You continue to look at Nebraska’s stats over the years and you see that Benny never really lead the team in any of them, but he wasn’t far off and was usually in the top 5 in assists, steals, and turnovers.
Benny Parker may not have been the best player on the court, but he quietly made his presence known. He was a constant on the court for Coach Miles and gave the game his all.
One last thing, let’s go back to another statistic we talked about above. Benny played in 130 games in his collegiate career, only second behind Cookie Belcher.
How many games did Cookie play?
Benny was so close…