A fast four seasons
Three years ago, veteran Wildcat forward Jamelle Horne warned then-freshman Kevin Parrom that this day was coming.
UA hosts ASU in its final home game of the year today.
"He said, 'Enjoy your four years of college, because it's going to go by fast," Parrom said. "I looked at him and thought, 'Yeah, whatever.' And (now) I'm like 'wow it's about to be over.'
"But one thing I took from it … I want to finish out strong and be the best I can be."
A fifth year not on Parrom's mind
Parrom could actually return next season if the NCAA grants him a hardship waiver for a fifth year, after all the time he's collectively missed because of on- and off-court adversity (Parrom does not qualify under normal medical redshirt criteria).
But he wasn't in the mood to talk about it this week.
Solomon Hill, sitting next to Parrom during an interview session, didn't think Parrom is dwelling much on the subject.
"I don't think Kevin's really worried about that," Hill said, answering a question about it for Parrom. "He's really been bombarded with questions about that for the past four months."
The allure of Arizona
Soon after he was hired as the Arizona Wildcats' coach in April 2009, Sean Miller went to Los Angeles to meet a player who had decommitted from the Wildcats when Lute Olson retired, and then committed to USC. Miller had no idea if Hill would reconsider the Wildcats when he pulled up at Fairfax High School to meet him.
"He didn't know me, and I didn't know him," Miller said. "He took a great leap of faith to come to Arizona at a time, at a desperate time, and we're thankful that he did."
Miller already knew UA's two other scholarship seniors, Parrom and Mark Lyons, both of whom originally signed with him at Xavier.
But those players didn't know UA.
Parrom "had no reason to come out here, but he believed in what we were doing," Miller said, adding that "Mark Lyons could have gone to Kentucky, Kansas, probably anywhere he wanted (as a graduate transfer last summer). He had no reason to come out here."
Eight to be honored
Miller will be a busy guy at today's senior day ceremony, honoring a total of eight people: The three senior scholarship players, senior walk-ons Max Wiepking and Quinton Crawford, along with senior managers David Buchanan, Margarito Najera and Preston Fawcett.
Miller said this week he hoped the players' homecourt careers end well.
"You're around those kids for four years, and it goes by quickly," Miller said. "And you know once they leave that they're not going to talk to you a whole lot. They're going to move on with their lives."
One more show for Ooh Aah Man
During two appearances at McKale Center as a player for Pittsburgh, Miller didn't notice the Ooh Aah Man.
"We were getting beat so bad I was just trying to get from Point A to Point B and go home," Miller said.
That's changed now that Miller has spent four seasons coaching at McKale, where the popular, ever-disrobing cheerleader is scheduled to make a final appearance today.
"If you're from out of town and you watch him this season, you might not understand," Miller said. "But if you've been here a long time, like a lot of our fans have been, he's obviously a great tradition and a real part of the environment at McKale."
Hill hopes to make lasting memories
So what would make senior day really special for Solomon Hill (above)?
"Dunking on (Jordan) Bachynski," Hill said of the Sun Devils' 7-foot-2-inch center. "That would be cool. I think that would really start us off and get us going in the right way."
Seriously, Hill added: "Anything that anybody can look back on and remember me from this game would be great no matter what it is. … It doesn't matter to me."
Arizona State at Arizona, 2:30 p.m. today, FSAZ, 1290-AM, 107.5-FM, 990-AM (Spanish)
He said it …
"Carson has only gotten better (since Jan. 19). I don't think he's looking to shoot more as much as they set it up for him - they set so many ball screens for him. He can use as many as three or four ball screens and they come in all varieties, so you have to be organized. He creates a problem on defense and they take advantage of it. He's similar to the way Damon (Stoudamire) was here in that he manages both (scoring and passing) well."
James Whitford, Arizona associate head coach
He said it …
Sendek "has always had a systematic way to play defense. They had a matchup zone and now they're all man-to-man. Bachynski's the same - a terrific shot blocker, and their ball-screen defense funnels you into him."