Jamaica is an awfully long way from Abbotsford – over 5,000 kilometres as the crow flies – but the University of the Fraser Valley men’s basketball team is certainly glad that Kevon Parchment found his way here.
The well-traveled 21-year-old guard has been an impact player with the Cascades since arriving on campus last fall, turning in performances which seem to defy his wiry 6’3” frame.
Parchment can score – he was sixth in Canada West last season with 17.9 points per game, and watching him blaze down the court with the ball on the fast break evokes his countryman Usain Bolt.
But to simply paint him as a scorer doesn’t do justice to his overall skill set. Parchment is able to impact the game in a multitude of ways, and his name was all over the list of conference stat leaders last season. He was 10th in rebounding (8.0), fourth in steals (2.6), fourth in free throw percentage (.848), 11th in blocks (0.6) and 14th in field goal percentage (.498).
The rebounding numbers, in particular, are eye-popping, considering most players among the top 10 rebounders in Canada West are closer to 6’8” than 6’3”.
“Sometimes as coaches, we turn into fans,” Cascades coach Adam Friesen marveled. “Grabbing rebounds, getting out in transition, some of the things he does, that’s not coaching. That’s just his skill taking over.
“He’s a very high-energy, high-motor guy, and he just has a knack for the ball. As far as rebounding, as a wiry guy he has no fear of going up against some of the bigger players in the league, and he comes away with it more times than not.”
UFV is the third post-secondary basketball stop for Parchment, who was born in Jamaica and moved to Toronto when he was five years old.
Upon graduating from Toronto’s West Hill Collegiate Institute in 2010, he redshirted at Tallahassee Community College, a junior college in Florida, for one season.
He was lured back to Canada in 2011-12 to play at Lakeland College in the Alberta/Saskatchewan border town of Lloydminster. His good friend Aaron McGowan, a point guard whom he’d been playing with since he was 11 years old, was set to attend Lakeland, and playing with him again was an opportunity Parchment couldn’t pass up.
After a big year in the Alberta college league, Parchment drew a great deal of interest from CIS schools, and he originally committed to the Victoria Vikes. But after a visit to UFV, and a lot of lobbying from then-Cascades stars Kyle Grewal and Sam Freeman, he changed his mind. He and McGowan both ended up at UFV.
“I really liked the guys, and I felt I had to reconsider because UFV was a better fit for me,” he said. “I feel it was a great decision.”
Last season, Parchment played a supporting role on a team led by fifth-year seniors Grewal, Freeman and James York which upset the Saskatchewan Huskies in the first round of the playoffs en route to a fourth-place finish in Canada West. With those players having graduated, he’s taking more ownership of the squad this season.
“Last year, I was more like the third or fourth option,” he noted. “As far as leadership, I looked up to those guys, and I asked them questions after the season was over on how they got the guys together. They really helped me mature a lot and speed up the learning process.”
Four games into the 2013-14 regular season, Parchment’s scoring numbers are down slightly, but he’s still stuffing the stat sheet at an incredible rate, averaging 15 points, seven rebounds, 4.5 assists and one block per game.
“He’s been great,” Friesen said. “He’s a very coachable guy, and it makes it easier to coach the rest of the team when you have such a talented guy be so team-oriented.”
• The UFV basketball teams are at home this weekend, facing the Mount Royals Cougars of Calgary at the Envision Athletic Centre. The Cascades women are 4-0 and ranked No. 3 in Canada, and they play at 6 p.m. Friday and 5 p.m. Saturday. The men (2-2) face their Cougars counterparts at 8 p.m. Friday and 7 p.m. Saturday.
• Abbotsford’s PacWest volleyball programs are on the road this weekend. UFV plays the Capilano Blues in North Vancouver on Friday and Saturday (women 6 p.m., men 8 p.m. both nights), while the Columbia Bible College Bearcats visit the Douglas Royals in New Westminster on Friday (women 6 p.m., men 8 p.m.) and Saturday (women 1 p.m., men 3 p.m.).
The Cascades women’s volleyball team maintained its No. 1 spot in the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association (CCAA) national ranking after sweeping the No. 7 Vancouver Island University Mariners last weekend, while the Bearcats men have cracked the ranking for the first time this season at No. 13. They split a pair of games last weekend vs. the Camosun Chargers, who came in ranked No. 3.
• The CBC basketball teams hit the road this weekend to face Douglas on Friday and the Langara Falcons on Saturday (women 6 p.m., men 8 p.m. both nights).