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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

UA in thick of Pac-10 race

The Arizona basketball team has completed more than half of its schedule, with an overall 10-9 record and a potential showdown with California on Sunday for first place in the Pacific 10 Conference.

That’s not bad for a young team transitioning into a new era, with the 11th-best schedule in the nation and the second toughest nonconference schedule in the nation.

Arizona is coming off two consecutive Pac-10 conference road wins at Oregon and ASU and is finally starting to look like a team developing chemistry.

“”You can see that at Oregon and ASU that our team is having fun playing the game,”” said Arizona head coach Sean Miller. “”They’re enjoying playing with each other, they’re starting to see that all the hard work is starting to be worthwhile.””

Miller attributes the team’s improved camaraderie to the road trips and tough experiences throughout the season. The first-year UA coach was thrilled to see the atmosphere in the locker room after snapping the five-game losing streak to ASU.

“”It was a fantastic feeling in the locker room,”” Miller. “”I was excited for the team after the game but I was equally worried where we go from here.””

Miller has reason to be worried — the Wildcats haven’t won three in a row all season. With 11 games remaining in the season, and the tournament streak still in question, the players insist they aren’t focusing on the streak.

“”It’s not a matter of winning so we can get in the tournament,”” said forward Jamelle Horne. “”We want to win to keep winning. We have two in the row so we want to build three, four, five, maybe six.””

Parrom bringing toughness

Freshman Kevin Parrom won’t stand out in the box scores after a game, but the toughness he’s brought to the court since his Wildcat debut against North Carolina State on Dec. 23 has been key to the Wildcats’ progress.

Parrom brought the defensive mentality that the Wildcats needed.

“”He’s really helped us establish that defensive identity more than we had it before,”” Miller said.

Most recently, he showed his worth late in the second half of the ASU game when he was called for a flagrant foul when he prevented ASU guard Ty Abbott from converting a break-away dunk.

When asked, Parrom insisted that it was just a hard basketball foul.

“”I wasn’t trying to hurt the guy,”” Parrom said while Jamelle Horne sat beside him and repeated what he had posted on his Twitter account after the game:

“”I’m from the Bronx, No easy buckets.””

Parrom said he didn’t receive any harsh feedback about his foul, outside from ASU’s distaste for the play.

“”I can’t go back to Tempe,”” he joked. “”If I go back there, I might not come back.””

Horne said he thought the entire moment should be displayed in the hallways of McKale Center, especially considering Parrom’s smile after Abbott jumped in his face after the foul.

“”The greatest thing about that foul was the smile he had on his face afterwards,”” Horne said. “”That’s going to be famous.””

And 1

Miller said he was impressed with the Zona Zoo in the first semester and hoped they would be supportive during the last seven home games.

“”I hope they’re in full force for the final seven games,”” Miller said. “”It will make a huge difference in the games, as well as recruiting, so the prospects can get that great feel for what its like to be at home at McKale.””

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