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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Parrom ‘composed’ as he rehabs injury

Gordon Bates
Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat Arizona Wildcats Mens Basketball players greet media in preparation for the upcoming season on Wednesday, October 12th at UA’s Richard Jefferson Gymnasium.

Kevin Parrom limped around Richard Jefferson Gymnasium with white bandages wrapped around his left hand and a bracelet that read “HOPE” around his right.

His gray UA sweatpants concealed bullet wounds from the gun of Jason Gonzalez, and his stoic face hid the emotion running through the 20-year-old junior as his mother continues to battle breast cancer.

“I’m tired. I’m just tired,” Parrom said. “I can’t really explain what I’m feeling right now.”

Rightfully so.

While his teammates fielded playful inquiries about their summer accomplishments and goals for the season at Wednesday’s media day, Parrom talked about being “happy to be alive.”

The 6-foot-6 small forward has been on an emotional roller coaster since heading back home in late September, and it’s unclear when and how it’s going to end.

In the past few months, Parrom has lost his grandmother, been shot in the leg, was grazed by a bullet on his left hand, and seen his mother in the hospital critical condition.

“It’s tough to handle,” Parrom said.

Parrom’s mother, Lisa Williams, continues to fight a two-year bout with breast cancer and “remains very critically ill,” according to UA head coach Sean Miller.

While Parrom constantly ponders the health of his mother, he also wonders when he’ll be healthy enough to join his teammates on the court. But even with no set return date and no certainty of his mother’s survival, the Bronx, New York native remains positive.

“I’ve been through everything. My mother’s my motivation,” Parrom said. “That’s how I’m staying composed. I lost my grandmother this summer so I’m just using family as my motivation. That’s why I’m staying composed. I’ll be all right. I’m tough. I’ll get through this.”

Parrom went to visit his mother last month and was shot by Gonzalez, who is being charged with attempted murder, at his father’s apartment after midnight on Sept. 24. But Parrom returned home to his second family in Tucson two days later, a testament to the belief Parrom’s family has in Miller’s program.

“The fact that he was able to get back here to Tucson as quick as he did had no bearing on his health, it had a lot more to do with his family’s faith in what we do here,” Miller said. “When Kevin’s surrounded by his teammates and coaches, he’s able to get to class, be around the students at Arizona, be surrounded by the community. That’s when he’s at his best and that allows him to have the best chance to be successful.”

Since returning to Tucson, Parrom has begun rehab for his right leg, which still has two bullet fragments wedged in it. He’s started to do range of motion exercises and run a little bit on the treadmill, but his return date is still in question.

“Right now his future is in doubt,” Miller said. “Hopefully we’ll welcome him back at some point but we don’t have a crystal ball to know when and if that’s going to happen.”

The freak injury couldn’t have come at a worse time for Parrom. After missing half of his freshman year with a stress fracture in his foot, Parrom played in all 38 games last season and gave Arizona toughness and energy.

Parrom said he worked tirelessly in the offseason to have a big junior year and help lead the Wildcats to yet another deep tournament run.

“I worked extremely hard. Everybody said they worked hard during the summer, they do this and that but I was here grinding,” Parrom said. “I was grinding every day with a few other guys like Solomon (Hill), Jesse (Perry), that’s just to name a few. We were here grinding just to try and get to the Final Four. Words can’t even describe how hard I’ve worked this whole summer.”

It is unknown if Parrom will miss any game time this season. While he is thousands of miles from his immedediate family, his basketball family is helping him every fday.

“It was terrible just to see that happen to him. Going back home for a certain reason and then have that happen to him out of the blue,” said sophomore guard Jordin Mayes. “We don’t really want to focus on that. We just want to come back and work hard for him.”

They said it

“It’s always tough. For a guy who works so hard, I was with him the whole summer, basically my roommate, one of my closest guys on the team. It’s definitely hard to see somebody go down like that who’s got so much potential just over a stupid situation. He’s definitely strong. He’s going to have to be, stronger for her, stronger for himself to get back on the grind, back on the court.”

— UA forward Jesse Perry

“As a team you just try and help him. Stay positive mentally, physically, rehab, whatever it takes. Just try to cheer him up on a daily basis. We’re hoping he’s going to help us this year because we really need him.”

_— UA center Kyryl Natyazhko _

“Everything happens for a reason. There’s a purpose behind this. Maybe the purpose behind this is to get the other players stronger, to get the chemistry going with the other guys. We don’t know the purpose. But we’ll soon find out.”

— UA forward Kevin Parrom

“It’s hard. It’s consuming. You don’t think about practice. You don’t think about a lot of things you normally would when you have one of your own players who’s been shot. There’s not necessarily a manual you pull out that tells you what to do. You really just try to be there and guide the process.”

— UA head coach Sean Miller

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