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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Hoops media day: Parrom ready to go, size no longer an issue

Larry Hogan / Arizona Daily Wildcat The UA mens basketball team during media day on Oct. 10, 2012.

Arizona held its basketball Media Day on Wednesday, marking the first time both head coach Sean Miller and the entire Wildcats roster have spoken at length with the press about the upcoming season. Here’s a look at what we learned from Wednesday’s media session:

Kevin Parrom will play a key role

Last year, guard/forward Kevin Parrom was shot and wounded in his right leg and left arm when he went to visit his family in New York.

Three weeks later, his mother died. To call it a season from hell for him would be an understatement.

On the court, Parrom played in 20 games, but scored just 4.9 points per game after averaging 7.6 the year before that in the Wildcats’ Elite Eight run.

Miller admitted he should have redshirted Parrom last year, which would have given him another year of eligibility.

“I have a lot of regret that we didn’t redshirt him,” Miller said.

“I think the reasons that we didn’t redshirt him were all the right reasons.

“Keeping him with us really helped, but I watched him play last year and he wasn’t anywhere near the player he was even as a sophomore.”

Now, both Miller and Parrom say he is at 100 percent and ready to be a vital part of this year’s team, especially with his position as one of three seniors in the playing rotation, along with forward Solomon Hill and transfer guard Mark Lyons.

“Looking at him right now, he’s strong physically,” Miller said.

“He’s healthy, he’s a senior that’s as hungry as any in college basketball if you consider everything he’s gone through.”

As for Parrom’s expected role as the tem’s sixth man, Miller said he expects the 6-foot-6 small forward to spell Hill at small forward now and then, and also get some playing time at shooting guard in a bigger lineup.

For freshmen, don’t expect Josiah part deux

Josiah Turner came to the UA with much fanfare, and many were ready to label him the next great point guard at what’s been historically known as “Point Guard U”. He wasn’t ready to carry the weight of those expectations on his shoulders, and off-the-court issues caused his suspension for the Pac-12 tournament, among other mishaps, leading to his exit from the UA basketball program after getting just 6.8 points and 2.4 assists per game.

Forward Sidiki Johnson didn’t even make it to the end of the season, and he now resides in Rhode Island after transferring to Providence.

This year, Miller hauled in even more highly touted recruits in a No. 3-ranked class, and he believes the quartet of Gabe York, Brandon Ashley, Kaleb Tarczewski and Grant Jerrett can handle the pressure that comes with being a top recruit at the UA.

A big part of his confidence in the freshmen comes as a result of spending more time with them over the summer than he’s been able to with freshmen in years past. The NCAA passed rules before the offseason allowing coaches interact with players for up to two hours per day, and up to eight hours per week. Plus, the Wildcats took a team-bonding trip to the Bahamas.

“When you look at the [high school] programs they’re from, where they’re from, who they played for,” Miller said, “I think you can point to solid situations they came from. They came to Arizona for all the right reasons.

“There’s no question that everyone we recruit one day hopes to be a part of the NBA but I think [the] path to getting there is a completely different thing, putting in the work and understanding the value of winning championships. Those guys are really in a good place.”

Hill, the de facto senior leader as a four-year starter, has noticed a discernable maturity on this Wildcats roster.

“You gotta make sure you’re doing what needs to be done before you hit the floor,” Hill said. “I love our team. It’s real easy to coach our team. There’s no egos this year, we don’t have any problems, nobody’s been late. That’s a good feeling when you have a good team. There’s nobody that’s not willing to learn.”

Size no longer an issue

If last year’s squad was undersized, that would make this year’s oversized. After starting a 6-foot-7 Jesse Perry at center and 6-foot-6 Solomon Hill at power forward, the Wildcats went into most games without any inside presence to speak of.

Now, Miller has added three freshmen taller than Perry in the 7-foot Tarczewski, 6-foot-8 Ashley and 6-foot-10 Jerrett, plus the Wildcats have sophomore Angelo Chol at 6-foot-9 with a full year under his belt and 10 pounds of added muscle to boot.

“One thing I can tell is that I really believe that all four of our front court players can play with each other,” Miller said.

“That group, there’s not two of them that won’t be able to be on the court together.”

Miller anticipates using all four players in variety of combinations, even playing two centers at once in Chol and Tarczewski and two power forwards in Jerrett and Ashley.

“I’m able to play the four now, since we have bigger guys so I can play two positions,” Chol said. “I mean [between the] four and five not a big difference, but just helps being on the court more.”

Lyons, who is expected to be the starting point guard, is looking forward to playing with the embarrassment of riches in the low post.

“They all bring different things to the table,” Lyons said. “If Kaleb’s in the paint, he has to get the ball because he’s gonna score every time. Brandon, if he catches it on the wing, he can shoot or go by guys. Grant’s probably the most skilled out of all them, but he’s not the most physically strong.”

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