Standing at 5-foot-9, Parker Wentz can count on one hand the times he’s guarded an opponent who was shorter than him. At the Div. I level of college basketball, where guards typically exceed six-feet, it puts the sharpshooter from Lubbock at a normal disadvantage.
But you don’t become one of ACU’s premiere men’s basketball players by counting yourself out.
“I just try to play as hard as I can and not think about the mismatch of the height as a negative,” Wentz said. “I am lower to the ball most of the time and so I can get on the floor easier for the ball and so I just try to develop other parts of my game, such as shooting, so that I can help the team with as much as I can.”
Entering his fourth season for the Wildcats, Wentz has made a living as being one of the top three-point shooters in ACU history. Wentz comes into this season with 189 made three-pointers for his career and owns a 42 percent mark from three. Each season, Wentz is among the leaders in the Southland in three point buckets.
Already in ACU’s 2015-2016 season opener, Wentz looked like a savy veteran on the court. He turned in 14 points including 4-6 from beyond the arc in leading the Wildcats to a 94-63 win over the University of the Southwest on Friday night.
In a injury-filled 2013-2014 season, Wentz was asked to handle much of the offense as a sophomore. He responded with his best season, averaging 13.9 points per game, shooting 44 percent from beyond the arc and leading the conference with 2.9 threes made per game.
Wentz also frequently gets to the charity stripe and converts as one of the best foul shooters in the conference. A career 83 percent free throw shooter, Wentz posted an 87 percent mark two years ago, ranking second in the conference, and then 85 percent last season which ranked third.
With all the stats and the chance to go down as the programs top three-point shooter, Wentz still focuses on the only stat that matters: wins.
“I think it is good, but my main goal is that I just want to win, so I am thankful for my success that I have had, but at the same time, I am just wanting to win,” Wentz said.
He may not be the tallest guy to step on the court, but his resume of experience for ACU stretches a long way. As the only senior on the team to have three years of experience under his belt, Wentz looks to help lead a group that welcomes one of their largest freshmen classes in years.
“I hopefully can use my experience and my example, to help the guys, but at the same time, I think the biggest thing is just working hard and making sure everyone else is working hard and that we have a good year,” Wentz said.
The Wildcats enter their third year as members of the Southland Conference. Although the past two years have not gone according to plan, Wentz and his teammates are optimistic that this is the year to expect change from ACU.
“This year, I am super excited, I am just ready to get out there and play, enjoy every game, enjoy every practice, enjoy the guys, and enjoy the long bus trips,” Wentz said. “I just want to make the most of it, of every moment and not take a day off and work hard until the last buzzer goes off and to be satisfied with everything I have done when that happens.”