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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Wildcats develop East Coast mentality

Alan Walsh/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Alan Walsh
Alan Walsh/Arizona Daily Wildcat

In the last couple of years, the Arizona basketball team has often been criticized for being somewhat soft.

But with the addition of an East Coast coaching staff and two players from New York, that perception has been changing over the course of the season.

Freshmen Kevin Parrom and Momo Jones may not fill up the stat sheets, but they bring the hard-nosed East Coast mentality that the Wildcats have lacked until this season.

“”(Parrom) and Momo bring that grit and toughness,”” said senior point guard Nic Wise. “”They have that no-quit attitude and it shows every day in practice.””

Parrom admits that the Pacific 10 Conference is very new to him compared to what he grew up watching on TV.

“”I always watched Big East basketball coming from New York,”” Parrom said. “”But I always heard about the Pac-10 growing up.””

For Parrom, one of the downsides of playing on the West Coast is that his family doesn’t get to watch his games very often.

“”My mother and father have to order the games (on television), but they try to catch every game that they can,”” he said.

But one of things Parrom doesn’t miss back home is the miserably cold New York weather that his family calls to tell him about every day.

“”A couple days ago I heard it was negative five back at home,”” Parrom said. “”I’m happy I’m on the West Coast right now — I don’t have to wear coats. I can go to class with sweats. It’s just better weather over here.””

Miller mum on tournament chances

During the Men’s Basketball Media Day in McKale Center in mid-October, Arizona head coach Sean Miller warned everyone that his young team had a long way to go before people began to mention extending the NCAA Tournament streak to 26.

In fact he even said the streak could be damaging to this year’s team.

Now that his young Wildcat team has surprised many, finishing the first half of the Pacific 10 Conference schedule tied for first place with California, the message remains the same.

“”We’ve never talked about winning a conference championship or what will happen in March,”” Miller said. “”What we’ve tried to focus on is to be a team that doesn’t cheat the process.””

The coach continues to reinforce the importance of getting better with each day and never even mentions the NCAA Tournament to his players.

“”That has never come out of his mouth this season,”” said senior Nic Wise when asked whether Miller ever slipped up and mentioned the tournament. “”It’s always about each game; it’s always about what season we’re in now, whether it be (non-conference) or Pac-10.””

Wise, the senior leader, is the spitting image of his coach when it comes to handling the team’s current success.

“”We’ve had a lot of people congratulating us, but we’re taking it and moving on,”” he said. “”We’re halfway through the (Pac-10) season. We still have a whole other half to play.””

As the Wildcats start the second half of their Pac-10 schedule against Washington on Thursday, the same mindset that Miller has preached from the first practice will be vital for the Wildcats to end the Pac-10 season the same way that they’ve started it.

“”Staying true to what’s made us become a better team remains the name of the game,”” Miller said. “”If we stay with that course, that’s the best chance to have the most wins we can have.””

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