For all but 22 seconds Saturday against Oklahoma, Brandon Parrish stayed on the floor.
Why not? The junior guard from Arlington was having one of his best games of the season for TCU.
“Considering the fact that he was chasing the league’s player of the year around, I thought he played well,” coach Trent Johnson said.
In addition to guarding Buddy Hield, Parrish made 8 of 16 shots and scored a season-high 20 points in the Horned Frogs’ 75-67 loss.
Two weeks ago, Parrish made 7 of 12 shots and scored 19 points in a near upset of Texas Tech.
Maybe something is falling into place for him, and just in time — TCU opens play in the Big 12 tournament on Wednesday night against Texas Tech.
Usually I’m a catch-and-shoot guy, a guy that lets the game come to me. I’m starting to realize, some games, I’ve got to go get it myself.
TCU guard Brandon Parrish
“I think I’m definitely finding something,” Parrish said. “Game-in, game-out with this team, I’m just trying to find my role. Usually I’m a catch-and-shoot guy, a guy that lets the game come to me. I’m starting to realize, some games, I’ve got to go get it myself. And if I go get it, that’s going to open up other guys. Once everything starts to open up, the sky’s the limit for us, because we’ve got the players to make things happen.”
Parrish is the only player to start all 31 games for TCU this season. He leads the team in minutes and 3-point shooting percentage (41 percent, 41-of-100).
In a season where only three players have been available for every game, Parrish has — in somewhat understated fashion — become a rock for Johnson.
Brandon Parrish leads TCU in minutes at 30.9 per game and 3-point percentage at 41.0. He is the only player to start all 31 games.
“He’s always been a reliable offensive guy, and let me explain what that means,” Johnson said. “He always does what you ask him to do — just because the ball doesn’t go in for him sometimes; he ain’t trying to miss them — that’s trust.
“Can I trust that Brandon’s going to do exactly what I want him to do and what I coach him to do? Yeah. So that’s reliable. Too many times, we get caught up in ball-don’t-go-in-the-hoop or this or that. He’s as good a kid as I’ve been around. And he’s improved.”
When Parrish is contributing offensively, TCU becomes dangerous. When the Frogs upset Texas on Jan. 9, Parrish was the leading scorer. When the Frogs beat Oklahoma State on Feb. 8, Parrish was the leading scorer.
If Parrish is scoring, he gives the Frogs a weapon on the wing to complement guards Chauncey Collins and Malique Trent in the backcourt and forwards Chris Washburn, JD Miller and Vladimir Brodziansky in the frontcourt.
The only question is whether Parrish, averaging 8.7 points, will force his way into the scoring mix.
“Sometimes it’s very hard for me,” he said. “My whole life, I’ve been a catch-and-shoot guy, a guy that plays off the ball. This opportunity for me is a good opportunity to grow as a basketball player and grow overall in this program.”
53.6 Shooting percentage for Brandon Parrish in TCU’s last three wins, against Texas, Tennessee and Oklahoma State. He shot 15-for-28, including 8-for-15 on 3-pointers.
Parrish lost his starting job last season when Kenrich Williams moved into the starting lineup. This season, with Williams out recovering from a knee injury, Parrish took on the bigger role.
The experience might pay off next year when he, a healthy Williams, plus Collins, Trent, Washburn, Miller, Brodziansky and Karviar Shepherd will make up the bulk of an experienced roster to go along with newcomers Josh Parrish, his brother, and Alex Robinson, a transfer from Texas A&M.
But Parrish hasn’t let his mind wander. A disappointing season for TCU ends with the next loss. But that hasn’t happened yet.
“From the outside sometimes, everybody thinks we should give in, act like it’s over, shift our focus to next season,” he said. “I think internally, each one of us wants something bigger than that. We don’t want to wait until next year. We want it now.”
TCU vs. Texas Tech
8 p.m. Wednesday, ESPNU