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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Trio must step up in Parrom’s absence

It’s no secret that with Kevin Parrom out for the year, the Arizona men’s basketball team loses size, versatility, scoring, rebounding, playmaking and every major skill that makes up a well-rounded player.

But even Bugs Bunny’s special juice in “Space Jam” couldn’t cure Parrom’s broken foot, meaning a few Wildcats need to elevate their play in Parrom’s absence.

“When you lose Kevin, just do the math,” said head coach Sean Miller. “Someone’s going to have to play a bigger role.”
Miller said those players will most likely come from Arizona’s frontcourt reserves, as Parrom had been backing up Solomon Hill at the power forward spot.

Parrom also played quite a bit of small forward as well, opening the door for the Wildcats’ guards and swingmen to step up.

Here are three guys who Miller said should see an increase in minutes and have an opportunity to help fill the void left by Parrom:

Angelo Chol

Whether it’s been by way of a monster block or an and-1 off of the dribble from the 3-point line, Angelo Chol has shown flashes of greatness at times this season.

Unfortunately for Arizona, his inexperience, lack of confidence and inability to stay tough on the boards has limited him to a minimal role this season.

That’s all about to change. With Parrom playing the backup four, starting center Jesse Perry will now back up Hill at the power forward spot, giving Chol more time at the five position.

“He’s had good moments,” Miller said. “He’ll be given a good opportunity here down the stretch and hopefully he can take advantage of it.”

Hill said he talked to Chol about stepping up in Parrom’s absence, and described how the freshman gives Arizona a more traditional lineup with Josiah Turner, Kyle Fogg, Solomon Hill, Jesse Perry and Chol. Out of the three candidates, expect Chol to see the biggest increase in minutes.

Brendon Lavender

While Chol should pick up Parrom’s interior presence, Brendon Lavender will help fill the void he left on the perimeter. No guard or small forward is more experienced or better equipped to do that than Lavender.

The senior sharpshooter has finally come into his own this season, and he ranks third in the NCAA in 3-point shooting at 58.3 percent.

“That’s a heck of a stat sheet,” Miller said. “He’s doing a really nice job for our team.”

Lavender set career highs against Bryant University and Oregon State, scoring 18 points in each and shooting a combined 11-of-13 from 3-point range in those games. Lavender also went for 14 points against Washington State as he knocked down four of his five 3-point attempts.

Lavender has been limited by a lack of playing time, however, as he’s averaged 11.1 minutes per game. But the senior’s window of opportunity will increase from here on out.

Even though it took an injury for him to have a shot at a bigger role, Lavender’s teammates and coaches believe in him fully.

“We have full trust in his shot. I don’t think anybody will ever second-guess any of the shots that he’s taken,” Hill said. “We always try to give him the ball, try to look for him in transition.”

Kyryl Natyazhko

It’s hard to expect much from Natyazhko after two and a half disappointing seasons with the Wildcats, but he’ll get his opportunity at center.

The Ukrainian averages only 8.2 minutes per game and has played in only 18 of the team’s 22 contests. He’s struggled to contribute, scoring 1.2 points per game on 38.5 percent shooting from the field, while grabbing only 1.8 boards per game.

While his increase in actual minutes may be minimal, Natyazhko will have a bigger role moving forward.

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