Mychal will be an important piece of the 2012 season, and it would hurt this team without his presence. I think there is a thought out there that somehow he won't be as needed because of Faust and the incoming Layman, but I don't think that is accurate. I'm going to ask you guys to think back to 2010-2011. We had just finished the season, when a series of bombs went off; first, JW decided to opt for the NBA; secondly, GW resigns; third, Turg joins TerpNation (Yay); fouth, we lose touted recruit JA; fifth, Palsson states his intent to leave for Europe; sixth, Pee down to injury. Each one of these event's impact our need for Mychal Parker.
When JWilliams left for the NBA, it started a domino effect with the Terp program, possibly impacting ever player, staff and recruit in the program; if not directly impacting GW's decision, it certainly impacted Palssons' (along with GW resigning), It at least had a momentum impact on the program, even if temporary (THANK GOD). Many presume it was the reason Gary left, although I've not seen that publicly acknowledged by him.
Gary's resigning led to many changes. Turgeon replaced him, bringing his own system and staff. Most would acknowledge, I believe, that Parker has improved his play since last year. He seems more a part of the team defensively and offensively. Is this because of Turgeon? It's logical. Does that mean he wouldn't have improved as much under Gary? Possibly. After all, it's not a discredit to GW to accept that each coach can bring out better success with certain players. Would Juan have been as good a player under Turg? Perhaps not. Either way, it's seems obvious that Parker has improved, and it's possible that he could continue on the same progression next year.
I don't begrudge any recruit to chose their school of choice, even if it means losing a recruit after a change in the program; it doesn't make it pleasant, but it's necessary in my mind to accept it without dwelling on it; you do what you must. I only touch on this point, because of it's impact on Parker. Both players are wings. Both could play the 2 or 3. It's one less recruit for that role defensively and offensively (athletic slasher wing with some outside potential). The importance of that is this: no one has 'replaced' that potential recruit.
Palsson decides to go to Europe. Palsson was a cool part of our team from 2010-2011. A small, quick power forward, and a 'big' wing who could play either forward slot. His decision to leave meant Mosley had to fill much of his time at small forward (though technically a guard) and even a bit at power forward. Parker got more playing time also. It gave Parker a chance to gain experience both in time on the court overall and time significant time against ACC opponents. Now, with Mosley's departure by graduation, and Palsson's departure last year, there is significant playing time, reliable performance, and experience needed at small forward. Faust was a part of GW's incoming class and if he was still the coach, we would have theoretically had Palsson (3rd year), Faust (second year), Parker (3rd year) to dish out '3' time to. Now, we have Parker (3rd year), Faust (2nd year), and Layman (incoming Frosh). Layman could get minutes as a wing forward, but is more likely to remind us of Polssons' role (but playing more consistently throughout his freshman year I imagine) as a 3/4. With smaller, quicker wings or three guard line up, Parker's defense would be important, and with slower wings Layman might get time. Layman is not slow, but I believe Parker to be quicker, and the better defender against that type wing. Additionally, Layman has no ACC experience; a significant edge that Parker has. Layman, I see, as Palssons 'replacement'; not the other wing-not-to-be-named.
Pee Howard down to injury. When that happened, Turg had no choice but to play Faust at point rather than 2/3. This is going to pay dividends to Fausts' long term career and this team as he becomes an upper classman. It also meant Parker was relied on for more minutes, just like Palsson's leaving did the same thing. Everything in this way for Faust was supposed to be temporary---then Howard gets injured again. It's reasonable to think that Faust will still get playing time at point, depending on Pee's situation at the beginning of next year. Additionally, with Stoglin returning, it's likely that Stoglin and Faust will split back up point behind Howard, and keeping me guessing as to who the real back up point is out there between the two of them. This means that Parker, once again, is needed as wing forward. Seth Allen comes in with our 2012 class, but he is unlikely to be ready to handle significant minutes in the ACC and against our tougher out of conference opponents.
Furthermore, if Turg succeeds in getting an experienced point guard or talented freshman true point guard for 2012, Parker's playing time would be curtailed somewhat, in particular if an experienced college point comes. That would mean Faust could spend more time at the three, theoretically guarding the same type of player Parker would. Even if that happened, Parker still has two things in his favor: 1) college experience and ACC experience, 2) He weights 20 more pounds than Faust. He could take more pounding against strong wings, as Mosley did for us. I still view Layman as taking up more time at big forward rather than small forward, and can not see Parker averaging less than 18 minutes a game, even in the 'worst' scenario for him personally.
Edited at 7:40 pm:
I thought I should add this next bit, because I thought it likely someone would mention it. At power forward/center we have Pankey, Cleare, Padgett, Len, and Mitchell. Depending on how the guys develope through the season, my guess would be that Pankey loses minutes, but could still be part of the rotation in some games--just my opinion. As defenders Cleare, Mitchell and Len are big bodies, and Padgett and Pankey are solid, but none of them could match Layman's quickness in the four spot. I think he gets minutes there.