Friday, December 21, 2012

No Easy Buckets: The Evolution of Kevin Parrom

Kevin Parrom seems like a nice guy, unless he's trailing you, and you are staring at an easy layup.  An unforgettable moment in Kevin's career came from his first season on January 23, 2010 when he fouled Ty Abbot of Arizona State to prevent an easy bucket.  What we didn't know at the time was that this kid from the Bronx would repeatedly make sure no one in his reach would get an uncontested layup or dunk.  I don't think he means anything malevolent by it.  I think that's just the way he plays.  You are going to have earn those points from the line.  When I think of Kevin, this commercial comes to mind.

The other indelible moment came from last season, when he returned to play his first game after being shot in the leg and losing his mother and grandmother.  McKale went crazy when he checked in, went nuts when he hit a three, and then there was this:

That usually uneventful kind of occurrence, when a player exits the game, became an important "moment" in Arizona basketball history, according to Anthony Gimino.

My favorite basketball players are those who are unappreciated.  This is not to say that Kevin is unappreciated, but I think he is certainly underappreciated.  We can definitely point to the hardship that he has faced and appreciate the perseverance required to get through it. Kevin suffered a stress fracture in his foot in his freshman year and played only 17 games.  During the 2011-12 season, Kevin endured enough pain and suffering to cause anyone to question whether they wanted to play basketball again.  Then, he broke his foot again in January, ending his season for good.

On top of all of this, Kevin rarely starts.  He has played in 84 games as an Arizona Wildcat, but he has only started 13 of those.  Who knows if it's true, but it's my impression that he doesn't mind coming off the bench at all.  He has been a regular sub for Solomon Hill, or at times, Jesse Perry.  At 6'6", there has almost always been someone who has started in his spot.  When guys come off the bench, it is often assumed that they are less talented than the starter for whom they sub, but in Kevin's case, it's not clear to me that that's true.

Let's look at a few stats.  Kevin is an all around player, much like Solomon Hill.  He can do anything.  This year, Kevin is scoring more points per minute than he has in any of the past three seasons, and he ranks 4th on the team in that category behind Lyons, Johnson, and Hill.  He is 3rd in rebounding per minute, trailing Ashley and Tarczewski.  He is 2nd on the team in assists per minute, behind only Nick Johnson, and 2nd in assist:turnover ratio.  Kevin is 1st in offensive rebounds per minute and leads the team in 2 pt FG%.  He is shooting 40% from behind the arc.  Finally, Ken Pomeroy rates him as having the 40th best offensive rating of any player in country, better than all of the other players on this team.  This is nothing new.  In his sophomore season, KenPom ranked him as #49.

Kevin is perhaps one of the best 6th men we have had, much like Jason Terry was for much of his career.  Last I heard, Kevin Parrom had petitioned the NCAA for an extra year of eligibility, and if anyone is deserving, it is him.  If granted, it would be nice to see him next year standing on the floor when the ball is tossed up at the start of the game. If things keep moving in the direction they have been, how could you not start him?  Here is how he has evolved over four years:

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