Despite ejection, Parrom to play Wednesday
UA head coach Sean Miller says team will deal with Parrom 'internally'
The No. 7 Arizona men’s basketball team captured its third straight win Saturday night by beating the Cougars 79-65 in Pullman, Wash., — just don’t ask forward Kevin Parrom to give too many details.
That’s because the senior missed the entire second half of the game after receiving a flagrant-2 foul for hitting DeVonté Lacy in the head. After stopping play and reviewing it on the monitor, the officials ejected Parrom with 10:43 remaining in the first period.
Video evidence showed that Parrom didn’t throw a punch at Lacy, but he made solid and deliberate contact with the Washington State guard above the shoulder. After a few days to digest the incident, head coach Sean Miller felt that the referees made the correct decision in ejecting Parrom.
“There’s no place in our game for retaliation,” Miller said. “Although I don’t think Kevin punched anybody — in fact, I’m 100 percent certain — but he reacted to a physical block-out by flailing his arm.”
Janice Biancavilla/ Daily Wildcat No. 3, Kevin Parrom, drives to the hoop against Northern Arizona University on Dec. 3 at McKale Center.
Miller attributed the situation to Parrom’s unrelenting competitive spirit and his toughness, something he’s always had. The aggressiveness makes Parrom one of Miller’s best players but it came with some unintended consequences Saturday.
Parrom’s ejection took away a hybrid two-guard/forward from an already thinning rotation. Guard Nick Johnson was ailing with a stomach virus and point guard Mark Lyons was already in foul trouble, putting the Wildcats in “tremendous jeopardy,” Miller said.
“Kevin’s a senior, he’s been through many situations and he knows better,” Miller added. “I’d like to think this’ll be the last incident of this kind that you’ll ever see from him.”
An empty replacement
With the backcourt unusually thin, the Wildcats had to depend on backup guard Jordin Mayes and gave him the most minutes (21) he’s had all season.
In year’s prior, it wouldn’t have been a problem to depend on the junior guard. But the Mayes of 2013 has been a shell of his more-productive past self.
During the game, Mayes hit one of his four shot attempts, a three-pointer in the middle of the second half to put Arizona up 60-42.
For someone who shot 45.3 percent from three as a freshman, the basket shouldn’t cause someone to even bat an eye. Yet it did.
The three-pointer was Mayes’ first made basket in his last five games.
“We’re concerned with his shooting,” Miller said. “We’re working hard and I know he’s working hard. It’s important from our perspective that he can shoot a higher percentage.”
Mayes is 1-for-10 since the Oregon series and is shooting a career-low 32.8 percent from the field and 25.7 percent from three. His shot has also looked terrible at times, including a futile three-point attempt against UCLA that hit only air.
Miller and the coaching staff are encouraging Mayes to take good looks and enter the game knowing they want him to shoot. Miller added that they believe in his ability to shoot because they see it in practice every day by Mayes..
“By the way, he’s not the only one,” Miller added.
The head coach said he feels that several other players are shooting worse than their talent level from deep, but he didn’t give any names. While Mayes has easily the worst percentage on the team, both Lyons and forward Grant Jerrett are shooting at or under 34 percent.
Miller did mention freshman Gabe York and Parrom — along with Mayes — as guys they need to come off the bench and hit crucial threes as the season continues.
“[They] are going to have a big part in how we finish because coming in the game and making an open three is vital for us,” Miller said. “We have a lot of things going for us and that’s really something we could use, a boost by one of those guys.”
Jerrett nursing foot pain
Jerrett felt some pain in his foot after the Washington State game and missed Arizona’s last two practices, according to Miller. The freshman forward could be seen around campus in a boot to protect him from aggravating the pain.
“We don’t look at it as anything really big,” Miller said. “But … with stress reactions, stress fractures, guys who are tall have to be careful when that initial foot pain happens.”
All of the measures the team took were precautionary, he added, and the tests showed no serious damage. Unless things change between the Tuesday press conference and 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jerrett will play against Stanford.
“What we don’t want to do is lose him in a couple weeks from now because we weren’t preventative here initially,” Miller said.
Jerrett is averaging 4.8 points and 4.0 rebounds in 18.4 minutes of play. He also has the most blocks on the team with 21.