Kevin Parrom’s Arizona return ‘an amazing feeling’

0 Comments

That’s how you greet a guy playing his first game since getting shot.

Cynics might say Arizona assistant Emanuel Richardson’s giving Kevin Parrom a bear hug because the junior wing helped the Wildcats avoid a loss to Ball State on Sunday. Forget that.

Parrom was shot in the leg while visiting his mother in September and while his recovery was progressing well, Wildcats coach Sean Miller was staying “cautiously optimistic” about a December return. Hey, the guy was lucky to be alive. Why expect more luck?

But after practicing this week, Parrom got the OK from Miller and playing 18 minutes in the 73-63 victory. He says he’s still about “75 percent,” but it didn’t show.

“It felt good. It’s an amazing feeling,” he told the AP. “I didn’t know how good I was going to play. I just wanted to contribute and grab a rebound or two and just play hard.”

Parrom did more than that. He scored six points, grabbed four rebounds, had two assists and didn’t commit a turnover in 18 minutes.  His timely 3-pointer in the second half capped a 15-5 Arizona run that cut Ball State’s lead to one. Until then, the Cardinals had completely outplayed the No. 15 Wildcats.

But that bucket signaled the start of Arizona’s win.

“We wouldn’t have won the game without him,” Miller said. “He’s just such a warrior, such a great kid, a kid who’s been through more than any person ever deserves to be through. And to watch him respond, to get welcomed like he did when he came into the game, to watch him just play. He took a charge, got rebounds. We’re so much a better team with Kevin, but that’s not even the story.”

No, it’s not. It’s about a kid who gets to play hoops about seven weeks after getting shot and less than a month after his mom died of cancer. Parrom’s a guy who could use some good.

Nice to see that he provided it on Sunday.

Related story:

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.