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Parrom returns, gives Wildcats boost over Ball State

In a lot of ways, Sunday night’s home affair with Ball
State University felt like a throw-away game for the
Wildcats. Josiah Turner, the star freshman point guard,
started off the game on the bench for Sean Miller, and he
finished in the same position he started.

On top of that the Wildcats seemed to not be able to
defend the post or the three-point line, as they fell
behind early behind Jarrod Jones’ strong inside-out play
(29 points 9 rebounds) and Jawaun Scaife’s shooting (4
three-pointers).

The deficit seemed insurmountable not only due to the hole
they dug, but also with the way they were playing. Players
who carried the Wildcats for the first two games were very
passive and playing out of their comfort zone. Jesse Perry
– arguably the team’s best player – seemed to be too
comfortable out on the perimeter and was not the impactful
player he was for the previous two games. Fellow team
leader Solomon Hill was playing well from a “team
perspective,” but seemed to lack any sort of
aggressiveness when the team needed someone to step up.

In the early going the aggressors were Nick Johnson (9
points) and Kyle Fogg (21 points), both contributing in a
big way to keep the team in some way in the game.

A spark was desperately needed, and well, Derrick Williams
was not about to walk through that door.

In time though, someone did walk through the door to give
the Wildcats a much needed jump-start. It was not
Williams, it was not Josiah Turner or any other Wildcats
that have been on display for the first 80 minutes of the
season, rather it was Kevin Parrom.

Parrom was ready to play, “It was an amazing feeling to be
back on the floor tonight. It was a last minute decision
to play tonight, but I’m not there yet, I’m still
recovering.”

Parrom, as we all know, experienced a rough summer that
included being shot and the loss of his mother. He had a
solid go during practice this week and was in uniform, but
even coach Miller didn’t anticipate playing him against
the Cardinals.

He entered the game to a unanimous cheer at the 4:36 mark
of the first half and closed it out by sinking a clutch
three during the run that took the wind out of Ball
State’s sails. He did not start the game, but he closed it
and had the most meaningful 6 points 4 rebounds and 2
assists for Arizona as part of the comeback effort.

It is not a question that Hill was the team’s best player,
notching his first career double-double (16 points, 11
rebounds), but Parrom played the most significant 18
minutes of the young Wildcats in the very young season.

When the game ended the Wildcats left with their heads
held high, thanks to Parrom’s effort, and moved to 3-0 on
the season. It has not been an easy path to the three
victories by less than 10 points against Valparaiso,
Duquesne and now Ball State.

After the game there may be more questions than answers
for this young and inexperienced Wildcats team. Who is the
leader? What role does Turner have on this team, if any?
Can Coach Miller find the right mix or game plan for this
roster?

Coach Miller spoke to Parrom’s return and how it addresses
a multitude of needs.

“Getting Kevin back was twofold, because the team is such
a different group with him out on the floor. He is big,
and physical, and is really a playmaker. He does so much
for us, and has so much experience in his two full seasons
here.”

Today the answer to all of those has to be “to be
determined,” but the signs are there that they can be a
very quality team.