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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Red-Blue Game more than just a team scrimmage

This year’s Red-Blue Game has very little to do with basketball.

The 2011 version of the most popular scrimmage on the West Coast won’t be remembered for welcoming’s No. 4 recruiting class in America , nor does it have much to do with the induction of former UA greats Chase Budinger and Derrick Williams into the McKale Center Ring of Honor. And it won’t be remembered for another Wildcat great, Jason Terry, who will be recognized for his part in winning the 2011 NBA Championship with the Dallas Mavericks.

In any other year, those would be headline stories.

But not this one.

Saturday’s scrimmage should be all about Arizona forward Kevin Parrom, who is in the middle of what is quite literally the worst month possible.

On Sept. 24, while in New York visiting his hospitalized mother, Parrom was shot in his right leg and left hand while hanging out with a longtime friend in his own home when it happened. It’s still unclear whether or not he’ll play this season.

Then on Oct. 16, Lisa Williams, Parrom’s mother, died after a two-year fight against cancer. Parrom was 2,500 miles away — his mother had ordered him to return to Tucson — with no family except the players and coaches on the Arizona basketball team.

“I ask all Arizona Wildcat fans to join us on Saturday, Oct. 22, at 2 p.m. at our annual Red-Blue Game to be there when we introduce Kevin Parrom as a part of our 2011-2012 team,” head coach Sean Miller said in a press release following Parrom’s mother’s death. “He will rely on all of us here in Tucson for support in moving forward.”

So now it’s time for a community that might call itself one of the best college basketball fan bases to prove it.

Parrom needs it. How many people have ever stepped into the spotlight in front of nearly 15,000 people less than a week after losing a parent?

You can add Parrom to that list on Saturday.

But there’s a key difference between Parrom and the rest that have gone through that. The others had their sport to lean on.

Brett Favre — one example — threw for 399 yards and four touchdowns the day after his dad died.

Steve Kerr, a name Arizona basketball fans remember fondly, hit five of seven shots against ASU two days after Islamic militants murdered his father in January of 1984.

While a great in-game performance can’t produce enough good vibes to overcome the loss of a parent, it lessens the sting at least for a little bit.

Parrom doesn’t get a chance for some on-court heroics to help him get through this.

Instead, he’ll rely on teammates, coaches, friends and a sold-out McKale Center on Saturday.

After the ride that Parrom and the rest of the basketball team took Arizona fans on last March, returning the favor is the least that the Wildcat faithful can do.

— Alex Williams is the assistant sports editor. He can be reached at

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