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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Parrom’s play revives sense of normalcy

If you were one of the 12,833 people in McKale Center on Sunday afternoon, you saw two of the greatest moments you’ll ever see at a sporting event.

The first came after 4:36 had ticked off the game clock. Heading into the first media timeout, junior swingman Kevin Parrom headed to the scorer’s table to check in for the first time this season after dealing with two months from hell.

Very few people in the arena noticed it, save for a small pocket of fans who began to stand and cheer near the Arizona bench. Then a few more noticed. Then the far-from-full ZonaZoo caught on, too. Soon enough, all of McKale Center was on its feet and Parrom had as wide a smile as you’ll ever see from someone on a basketball court.

“I really needed that,” Parrom said of the ovation. “It’s one of the reasons I came here — it’s like a family atmosphere.”

But as good as his entrance was, Parrom’s exit was even better. When he checked out of the game for good with 32.7 seconds left and with Arizona holding a 10-point lead, Arizona coach Sean Miller, who rarely even looks at a player when he’s leaving the court, grabbed Parrom and gave him a bear hug as McKale again rose to its feet.

“He’s more than a coach to me,” Parrom said.

As the pre-game clock ticked closer to zero, it was clear that it was going to be no normal game for the 6-foot-6 native of New York City.

It’s easy to understand why. Over the summer, Parrom’s grandmother passed away. Then, at the end of September, on a visit home, Parrom was shot in the leg and hand. While he recovered from his injuries, his mother died after a fight with cancer. Just minutes before Sunday’s game, it was decided that he would make his season debut.

“It was a last-minute decision,” Parrom said.

And it was the right one.

Parrom needed to make his season debut in McKale Center. If it happened at the hallowed grounds of Madison Square Garden in his hometown and in front of scores of family and friends, that could have been too much even for Parrom to handle.

And now, Parrom can finally get a bit of normalcy to his life — something he hasn’t had since the middle of September.

“Basketball is everything for a lot of kids,” Miller said. “To be able to do what you love is good for all of us.”

— Alex Williams is the assistant sports editor. He can be reached at sports@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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