California native Parker Jackson-Cartwright may be one of the most dynamic and watchable point guards from the class of 2014. Noted for his speed and adept use of his off hand, his commitment to Arizona sparked a great deal of excitement among Wildcat fans. In spite of the hype that surrounds him, in a recent conversation with PGU, Jackson-Cartwright is first and foremost an adoring younger brother.
“I got started in basketball watching my older brother play,” he explains. “I wanted to do everything he did.”
Family figures prominently into the life of Jackson-Cartwright, who credits them with bestowing most of the advice that enabled him to reach the heights that he has today. When he is not on the court, he prefers to spend time with his family, although he adds, “I really don’t get a lot of down time.”
That is not surprising. Jackson-Cartwright was courted by Arizona State, UCLA, USC, and North Carolina State, among others, but he says that on his official visit to Tucson, he knew “instantly” that he would commit to the University of Arizona.
“It’s like a family,” he says of his new team. “The players, the coaches, everybody. There’s real camaraderie there…That’s the best part about being involved in a sport. You work hard together, you build that team chemistry and become comfortable, and it pays off.”
Once his decision was made, Jackson-Cartwright received the wholehearted approval of his family. “They love Tucson,” he says. “I never thought they’d say that, but it’s so close that they can come see my games.”
One member of the family in particular from whom Jackson-Cartwright gets support is his father, who encouraged him to emulate impact players such as Steve Nash. Jackson-Cartwright also credits his father for the development of what is perhaps his most effective tool on the court—the often-underrated use of the off hand. “My dad told me, ‘You have to teach yourself to be ambidextrous,’ ” Jackson-Cartwright explains.
Basketball is the pivotal force in Jackson-Cartwright’s life, but it will not be his single focus in college. He expresses admiration for his older siblings, who are pursuing and have attained degrees at the University of Pennsylvania and Sarah Lawrence.
“I’m most looking forward to getting there, working hard, making an impact,” he says. “And it’s very important that I get my degree and have a plan for what comes after basketball.”