NEW GOLDEN EAGLE ALERT!
On Wednesday, Class of 2024 forward Royce Parham brought his recruitment to a close and announced his verbal commitment to play for Shaka Smart and Marquette. Parham picked Marquette out of a group of final four teams that also included Pittsburgh, Penn State, and Xavier.
At a glance, it would seem that Parham was really only choosing between Marquette, Pitt, and Xavier when it came down to it. Parham made his Top Four announcement one day after Micah Shrewsberry was announced as the new head coach at Notre Dame. In other words, Parham may have made his cutdown, told the graphics guy over at On3.com his list, and waited for the graphic while Shrewsberry was preparing to leave Penn State for South Bend. I don’t know if new PSU head coach Mike Rhodes did any kind of outreach to players that Shrewsberry’s staff was recruiting, but it certainly seems likely that Parham wouldn’t have been considering the Nittany Lions very strongly over the past month, even if that is his mother’s alma mater.
247 Sports lists Parham as a 6’8”, 200 pound power forward. Internally, they rank him at #113 in the country right now, which makes him the 19th best power forward. However, the 247 Composite slots him in at #68 in the country and the eighth best power forward. In 247’s eyes, somewhere between 68 and 113 is the difference between a three-star and a four-star prospect. On3.com has Parham as a four star prospect internally, ranking him at #73 in the country, while their Industry Ranking, their version of a composite ranking, has him at #85 in the country. Rivals ranks Parham at #82 in the country, although they don’t attach a state or positional ranking to that. ESPN doesn’t appear to even have a page for Parham, so that does make it a little surprising that the two compilation rankings like him so much.
Parham talked to 247 Sports’ Dushawn London back in early April, not long after he announced his top four. Here’s what he said about Marquette:
“I really like the coaching staff. Coach Shaka and coach [Neil] Berry have been really involved in my recruitment recently. They have a plan for me in the future and see me playing there. I’ve been watching them a lot during March Madness and the Big East tournament. I also really like the city of Milwaukee.”
“Royce Parham has a big frame and a stand-out motor. What strikes you quickly is the purpose with which he runs the floor on both ends. He has excellent hands, both on the block or catching on the move. His touch, and confidence, extend beyond the three-point line, and he can put it on the floor for one and two dribbles. Parham is a good athlete with very natural and fluid movements. His frame also looks like it is not done growing. He comes from significant basketball genes as his mom is the career blocked shots leader at Penn State. Young for his grade, there is still time for him, and his ceiling is very high. Monitor his development closely; there are a lot of natural tools working in Parham’s favor.”
I tracked down some spring 2023 EYBL stats for Parham, who plays with Team Durant. In four games this past weekend, Parham averaged 13.5 points while shooting 59% from the field but just 1-for-4 from long range. He added 5.5 rebounds and 1.2 assists while playing 24 minutes on average. I can’t find something with Parham’s stats for North Hills High School in the Pittsburgh area from this past season, but he did average “nearly 21 points and nine rebounds” as a sophomore in 2021-22 on a senior heavy team that went 26-2. Parham did have a 39 point game in mid-January this season, and he had 35 points in a 76-70 victory to win North Hills a Section 4-5A championship and clamp down his hold on the Class-5A scoring title.
I don’t see any highlights on YouTube for you, but I did find two recent interviews with Parham that are over there. Here’s one from two weeks ago, and another from three weeks ago. If you want some highlights, go check out Parham’s Hudl page, which was updated as recently as mid-March.
And now, the brand new scholarship chart!
Parham is Marquette’s second commitment for the Class of 2024, as Damarius Owens made his pledge back in mid-February. Both Owens and Parham project as power forwards at the collegiate level, or at the very least big wings, as they’re both currently listed at 6’8”. That’s not that big of a deal in terms of a recruiting class for a couple of reasons. First, there’s the fact that Kam Jones and Stevie Mitchell project as seniors on the 2024-25 roster and there’s the chance that Tyler Kolek could still be in a Marquette uniform thanks to a COVID bonus season of eligibility. Second, there’s four more guards that we can expect to be on the roster, including Zaide Lowery and Tre Norman, who will be freshmen in the fall of 2023. Prioritizing Large Athletic Guys for 2024 is a pretty good idea, particularly since there’s a chance that MU will be losing both Oso Ighodaro and Olivier-Maxence Prosper after the 2023-24 campaign. In general, you can do a lot worse than recruiting the tallest and most athletic basketball players you can project as good fits in your system, so you won’t see me complain about the direction that head coach Shaka Smart and his staff are going in right now.
With that in mind, I think we could probably look at more backcourt type gentlemen as Smart figures out how to fill the final two possible open scholarship spots. Based on the recruiting tidbits we’ve seen recently, there’s three obvious candidates, all in the top 100 over at 247 Sports. Keep your eyes on Kon Knueppel from Wisconsin, Sir Mohammed from North Carolina, and Isaiah Abraham from the Washington, D.C., area. They’re not all going to end up in blue and gold, but those seem to be the most likely targets right now.