Nov. 23—PORTLAND — The challenges keep coming for Gonzaga's backcourt and there will be several of them with Portland State's small-ball starting lineup.
The top two on Thanksgiving night: play-making point guard Cameron Parker and leading scorer Jorell Saterfield.
The 6-foot-2, 180-pound Parker played two years at Sacred Heart and two at Montana before the Jesuit High (Portland) product returned home as a "super senior," taking advantage of the NCAA granting an additional year of eligibility because of COVID interruptions on the 2020 season.
Parker matched his career best with 23 points in his PSU debut against Portland. He's averaging a highly efficient 14 points on 60% shooting, including 50% from distance, and 77.8% at the free-throw line. He leads the Big Sky in assists (5.5) and assist-to-turnover ratio (2.75).
Gonzaga senior Rasir Bolton figures to draw the defensive assignment on Parker. Nolan Hickman is an option, too, as he moves closer to full speed from an ankle injury suffered against Texas.
The 6-4, 190-pound Saterfield has tripled his scoring average after averaging 5.7 points at UTEP a year ago. The junior from Chicago set a career high with 19 points vs. Seattle before erupting for four 3-pointers and 26 points in the program's first win against Oregon State.
Saterfield, like Parker, can score at all three levels. He's third in the Big Sky in scoring (17.5), tied for first in made 3s (2.8) and eighth in free-throw percentage (81.8).
Saterfield and Parker both average more than 30 minutes. No other player averages above 24.2 minutes as the Vikings frequently call on their bench for significant playing time.
Julian Strawther figures to defend Saterfield while Anton Watson matches up on 6-4, 205-pound Bobby Harvey, another native of Chicago.