BY Dan Gardella
On Dec. 1, the Sacred Heart basketball team defeated Division III opponent Pine Manor 101-57. In the victory, sophomore guard Cameron Parker set an NCAA single game record by recording 24 assists.
The previous record was 22 assists in a game, set by four previous players. The last player to have recorded 22 assists was former Oklahoma guard and current Atlanta Hawk Trae Young.
“It’s definitely everything that I’ve worked for,” said Parker. “I’ve dreamed of moments like this. Putting myself in the record books as a sophomore is crazy to think of.”
Parker however, focused the praise on his teammates. He explained that without his teammates making shots throughout the game, he would not have accumulated all the assists to set the record.
From the opening tip-off, Parker was in a giving mood. Through the first ten minutes of the first half, Parker was already nearing double-digit assists as Sacred Heart began to extend their lead over the Gators. As the first half progressed, Parker continued to pass the ball with great consistency, something that doesn’t come as a surprise to head coach Anthony Latina.
“I remember that we got the stat sheet, and at the under-eight media timeout, he had 11 or 12 assists. I was like ‘Cam’s got 12 assist already?’. He does it so often that you don’t even realize it,” said Latina.
Around the same time, Parker was told of his high assist count early on. From that point on, he wanted to challenge himself.
“When someone told me I had 12 assists at the under-eight timeout, I wanted to see how many I could get, honestly,” said Parker.
Parker finished the first half with 15 assists, just one off from his career-high, which he set in Sacred Heart’s previous game against Quinnipiac on Nov. 24.
Parker tied his career-high early in the second half and continued to pass. With 12:25 left in the game, Parker found senior Kinnon LaRose on the fastbreak to give him his twentieth assists of the game, which broke a Sacred Heart program record, one that stood for 47 years.
Now looking to set an NCAA record, Parker tied and broke the record on consecutive possessions, finding junior forward E.J. Anosike to stand alone in the single game assist record.
As of Dec. 2, Parker leads all of college basketball in total assists, with 72, and sits second in assists per game, dishing out nine per contest. Only Zavier Simpson from the University of Michigan averages more assists per game.
Sacred Heart’s next game is against UMass Lowell on Dec. 4. The game gives the Pioneers a chance to climb above the .500 record mark for the first time this season. With five games left before the Pioneers begin conference play, there is a high confidence level within the team.
“The confidence comes from the players that we’re counting on starting to really play well,” said Latina. “It’s all about performances, and when they perform at that level, we have a chance to be pretty good.”