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Indiana Women’s Basketball Transfer Breakdown: Sydney Parrish

What the former Oregon Duck’s homecoming means for Indiana.

Oregon v Arizona
Parrish blocks a shot vs. Arizona
Photo by Rebecca Noble/Getty Images

Hello Hoosier fans!

Welcome back to our Indiana women’s basketball newcomers series! This week we’re rounding out the incoming transfers. Here’s everything you need to know about Sydney Parrish:

Backstory

Parrish joins the Hoosiers after two seasons at the University of Oregon. During her time in Eugene, Parrish appeared in 55 games and started 34. Last year she started all 32 tilts, averaging 8.5 points and 24.6 minutes per.

Parrish’s transfer to Indiana basketball is a big deal because Parrish is Indiana basketball. The Fishers native graduated from Hamilton Southeastern in 2020 where she was:

  • HSE’s all-time leading scorer
  • Hamilton county’s all-time leading scorer
  • A 3x All-State selection
  • A 2019 4-A State Champion
  • 2019 Indiana Player of the Year
  • 2020 Indiana Miss Basketball
  • 2020 McDonald’s All-American
  • A 5-star recruit (one of 5 in Oregon’s 2020 class)

So yeah, she’s kind of a big deal around here. No wonder her announcement got so much buzz:

She was indeed doin’ numbers on the bird app! Fans were hyped.

Breaking it down

Sydney Parrish’s decision to transfer garnered such attention because of all the aforementioned accolades. She was a 5-star recruit considered one of the most versatile guards in her class, but who is she now? How did her skillset transfer to college? How did Oregon use her on the floor? We’ve got all the answers right here:

We’ll get to what we saw in Oregon’s games vs. South Carolina, Portland, and UConn in a second, but first let’s take a look at that stat line again. Last year, Parrish registered 8.5 points, 3.3 rebounds, and a hair under an assist per game. She shot 38.5% from the field and was 52-147 (35.4%) on three point attempts.

Fewer than 10 points per game from a well-rounded, 5-star guard? That’s a little...odd...

Yeah. Maybe. But it needs to be taken into context. Parrish never became the dominant ball handler that many expected her to be in the Pacific Northwest simply because it wasn’t the role she was given. Instead, she played the three and roamed the wings for a powerful Ducks offense that finished third in the Pac-12 in scoring last year. Their scheme was predicated on kicking the ball into the post and letting forwards Nyara Sabally and Sedona Prince go to work. UO mainly used Parrish as a three-point specialist. She attempted 4.59 triples per game, and probably averaged about that many dribbles in the offensive zone per game too. Catch n’ shoot, catch n’ shoot, catch n’ shoot.

She’s gritty, too. Parrish is more than willing to crash the boards and grab a contested rebound:

We could get used to seeing that.

For the most part Oregon Sydney Parrish was not a neon-clad slasher, but she showed glimpses during occasions in which she played point or shooting guard for the Ducks. She has an explosive first step and is really good at sticking to her line once she picks a path to the hoop. Simply throwing out an arm is not going to stop her in the paint, defenders need to be prepared to try and draw a charge. She can drive both left and right and is not afraid to push in transition:

One underrated aspect of Parrish’s game I would love to see flourish in Bloomington is her ability to drive down the baseline. It didn’t happen super often, but there were a couple instances in the games I watched in which a defender closed out on Parrish as a shooter on the wing. All she had to do was sidestep towards the baseline to give herself a free lane to the hoop. The cross-court seals set by Oregon’s bigs helped a ton too. On each drive, Parrish as much space as a wide receiver facing blown coverage. Easy points every time.

I don’t have much to say about Parrish as a defender because I haven’t seen much of Parrish as a defender. Oregon ran a ton of zone against UConn and South Carolina (they do not shy away from scheduling the big dogs) so it’s hard to tell what she’ll look like in space against B1G caliber athletes. Within the zone she was good at getting out to the player she was guarding and then recovering back to her landmark quickly. Her 31 steals would’ve been third-most on the Hoosiers’ roster last year though.

The most important thing you need to know about Sydney Parrish is that she’s feared as a shooter. Defenders get pulled way out because of her ability to knock down fairly deep threes and the middle opens up. Expect much better spacing from the Indiana offense this season.

Usage and expectations

The expected roles of our first two breakdowns in Alyssa Geary and Sara Scalia have been pretty cut and dry. That’s not the case with Parrish. With Grace Berger and Scalia on the roster, only one starting guard slot is likely open. Parrish is probably the favorite for it, but don’t count out Chloe Moore-McNeil, who just wrapped up an awesome sophomore year off the bench. There’ll be multiple freshmen guards that we’re excited about too, but given head coach Teri Moren’s tendency to let first-years develop over time, this camp battle will be a 1 v. 1. Parrish v. CMM.

It’s a toss up, but as we speak, Parrish’s experience as a Division I starter tips the scales towards her. If that’s indeed the case, expect roughly 25 minutes and double digit points per game from the former Indiana Miss Basketball this fall.