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Change of pace
Johnson C. Smith faces new era without All-America
 
Published Thursday, March 7, 2013 8:15 am
by Herbert L. White

Johnson C. Smith basketball is already adjusting to life without Trevin Parks.

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PHOTO/CURTIS WILSON
Johnson C. Smith forward Antwan Wilkerson is one third of an experienced frontcourt that returns to the Golden Bulls lineup next season. JCSU, which improved to 16-11, loses its best player, two-time All-America guard Trevin Parks.

After losing in the CIAA quarterfinals last week against Elizabeth City State, Golden Bulls coach Steve Joyner lamented not being able to get to the final with Parks, a two-time all-America and JCSU’s leading scorer for three straight seasons.


“I’m very disappointed for him individually that we’ve been in a transition of getting enough talent around him to help him out,” Joyner said. “I thought we had enough this year but we had some ups and downs, some mishaps. For an individual, I’m disappointed we were not able to extend his career in the NCAAs.”


With Parks gone, the Golden Bulls will have to find more than a scorer who averaged more than 25 points a game as a senior. JCSU will need to locate the kind of leadership Parks provided on a team that returns all but two seniors to a squad that improved to 16-11.


“We’ve got to still recruit,” Joyner said. “I don’t think we’ll ever find another kid as personable as Trevin. I always admired how he dealt with our younger players and how he tried to bring them along and give them understanding of the coaching staff and give them understanding of what should happen. That one’s going to be tough to find, but we’re certainly looking for him.”


Forwards Emerson Williams, Emilio Parks and Antwan Wilkerson form the veteran nucleus of next season’s starting lineup with Joshua Linson and Richard Daniels the incumbent backcourt. Emilio Parks was the Golden Bulls’ second-leading scorer in his first season at JCSU while Williams and Wilkerson have been streaky over their first three years.


“There’s improvement for everybody – me as a coach and them as players,” Joyner said.


Wilkerson, a 6-6 wing who was more consistent on defense than offense, has the physical tools to boost his productivity. The key is turning his potential into reality.


“I think Antwan understands the pressure of that,” Joyner said. “He has some abilities he can work hard (at) to bring forth to the team. We’ll see what his summer’s like and hopefully he’ll come back better prepared.”


Linson, a freshman, will likely get the first chance at replacing Parks. He was primarily a spot-up jump shooter in his first year but Joyner believes Linson is capable of doing more with a year of growth.


“I think his future’s bright,” Joyner said. “I think Josh figures very, very heavily in what we’re trying to do in the future and I hope he continues to grow. He’s in a learning process. Hopefully he has a good summer workout and good preseason next year and I think he’ll be significant in what we do next year.”

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