The first inclination is to ask, “What exactly did Parker Jackson-Cartwright do?” or “How will this affect Arizona and its recruiting class?”
Judging from some message boards, a few believe Arizona should not welcome the Class of 2014 point guard recruit on board, fearing another Josiah Turner or Sidiki Johnson fiasco. Turner and Johnson each were forced to leave their respective high schools and transfer to another institution in their senior years in 2011 because of disciplinary reasons.
We should be asking, “How can this young man be helped?” at such a tumultuous time for a 17-year-old.
Obviously, Jackson-Cartwright, formerly of Los Angeles Loyola High School, did something terribly wrong. His family is not divulging details of his academic misconduct nor do they have to. It was bad enough for Jackson-Cartwright to withdraw from his school. Leave it at that.
Unlike the Turner and Johnson situations, Jackson-Cartwright and his family are taking full responsibility and not using excuses and playing the blame game. That is refreshing in this day and age when an athlete is promoted beyond belief by AAU coaches and recruiting services. They are viewed as bigger than the game itself.
Bruce Pascoe of The Arizona Daily Star reported last night that Sean Miller and his staff have a “go-ahead plan” to keep Jackson-Cartwright as part of this class.
Miller is doing the right thing. If he cut ties with Jackson-Cartwright over this, Miller would alienate many coaches and players with his recruiting efforts, particularly those in California and the Los Angeles area. He would go from an impeccable recruiter to the guy who gave up on a kid.
“Man, the way (Sean Miller) talked to my son, Arizona is blessed to have him. What a stand-up guy. We were worried that he could say `All bets are off; you’re radioactive’ and of course that would have added to our pain.” — Ramon Cartwright as quoted by Arizona Daily Star reporter Bruce Pascoe
Instead, Miller will gain more supporters over how he handles this situation, showing a human element that is necessary when handling the sensitivity of a youngster in trouble.
“We’ve been in touch with the (Arizona) coaches and we already have a go-ahead plan,” Jackson-Cartwright’s father, Ramon Cartwright, told Pascoe. “They know full well what’s happening.
“Man, the way (Miller) talked to my son, Arizona is blessed to have him. What a stand-up guy. We were worried that he could say `All bets are off; you’re radioactive’ and of course that would have added to our pain.”
What must happen now? Jackson-Cartwright needs to enroll at another school Monday and hit the books. He must leave basketball behind from now until May. That means he should not play for the school to where he transfers like Turner and Johnson attempted to do after leaving their respective schools three years ago.
Josiah Turner was kicked off of his team at Sacramento High School with his coach citing a violation of “athletic rules and regulations and team rules and regulations.”
He transferred to Quality Education Academy in North Carolina — an institution investigated by the NCAA for its curriculum — in January of 2011 to finish out his senior season.
Sidiki Johnson was kicked off of Oak Hill Academy’s team in February of 2011 along with star player Ben McLemore for a violation of team rules. Johnson wound up at Wadleigh High School in Harlem, near his Bronx home.
Johnson did not last a full year at Arizona, leaving the team after a suspension a month into the 2011-12 season. Turner was disciplined at least three times, including a ban by Miller from playing in the postseason that year. Turner, one of Miller’s highest-profile recruits at the time, left after only one year.
In order to avoid a repeat of the Turner and Johnson mess, Arizona must make it clear to Jackson-Cartwright that of the utmost importance is the guard’s education. That means no basketball, only school books. The discipline starts now.
For Jackson-Cartwright to play at Arizona in November, he must first become academically eligible. That means fulfilling his core requirements. The work toward that begins Monday. Arizona’s coaches already know how talented Jackson-Cartwright is on the court. He must show his maturity in the classroom.
By all accounts, Jackson-Cartwright is an impressive young man with how he interacts with others and his leadership ability as a point guard.
It’s time for him to show he can take care of himself more so than a team. This is one situation in which Jackson-Cartwright should become self-absorbed. Basketball can wait.