The Summit League is a sneaky good conference with incredible depth of top-tier talent. It features quality, bubbling up to be yearly masters of the mid-major domain. Programs such as South Dakota State, Oral Roberts and North Dakota State are the type which we should be keeping an eye on. Not merely this season, though, as it’s now an annual trend for them to be of importance.
As for the talent, well, the league hurls Obi Emegano, Paul Miller, Deondre Parks and a slew of other really talented players on the court in any given in-conference game. They’re all mostly experienced college players, with no true glaring flaws in their game, and the types of guys which make for great fodder as we inch slowly closer to March. Really, these are the sorts of talents that will inevitably become cool names to know come conference tournament play.
It will sound odd to some, but the Summit League has truly become one of the more entertaining “smaller” conferences to pay attention to in the entire country. Not to mention the fact that the quality of the teams and players at the top of conference would make other, more well known mid-majors blush.
That’s right. The Summit League is going to punch the WCC right in the face… or something.
While a lot of attention this offseason was on Oral Roberts guard Obi Emegano — and rightfully so, as he’s averaging over 22 points per game — there’s a certain player roaming about who will likely become everyone’s favorite sleeper-fellow in March; South Dakota State’s Deondre Parks.
Parks, a former JUCO transfer and now a senior, has that innate scoring ability like Emegano. Through 13 games this season, Parks is averaging 17.6 points per game on 43 percent shooting from the floor and 33 percent from beyond the arc.
That’s not all that he is doing, though. While Parks came to the Jackrabbits program as a heralded scorer, dating back to last season he has gone a long way to improve on the defensive side of the ball (96.6 defensive rating). He is also a good guard rebounder, as he is currently averaging over 5 boards per game for South Dakota State.
All of this likely seems unimportant to you, the power conference hungry hoops consumer, but I promise you this; Deondre Parks is a name that will be fed down your throats the closer we get to March.
Start to pay attention now so you are ahead of the hipster hoops curve (patent pending).
It isn’t only Parks who makes South Dakota State exciting, though.
Jackrabbits coach Scott Nagy plays small-ball. So small that it would make the Golden State Warriors weak in the knees. With the rotation featuring four guards and a forward, it comes as no surprise that they get up a lot of shots. It isn’t exactly a breakneck pace in which they play, but with the largest player on the court usually being a 6’9″ forward, it only makes sense that Nagy’s squad is all effort in all areas.
Circling-back to Parks a bit; he leads the team in win shares (2), points produced (206), and has a 26.4 usage rate. All of that meaning, basically, that as Parks goes so too goes South Dakota State. He is the butter which is spread across the bread that is South Dakota State.
Parker is also going to battle with Emegano for Summit League POY honors.
With South Dakota State being one of the top three programs in the Summit League, as North Dakota State is their biggest threat and Oral Roberts behind them, they’re going to be that fun little team in March your aunt Rachel picks to go to the Sweet Sixteen because its mascot is the Jackrabbits.
Seriously, don’t let aunt Rachael be ahead of the curve here. For real. She’s a jerk. Remember that time she gave you a pair of socks for Christmas? Screw aunt Rachel, in my humble opinion.