Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
NEW YORK — A few short weeks ago, Kevin Parrom couldn’t be sure he would ever play basketball again.
Much less compete on the big stage of Madison Square Garden.
Yet with 17:42 remaining in the first half of Arizona’s game against St. John’s in the 2K Sports Classic, the Bronx native entered the game to a warm and resounding cheer from the 9,036 fans on hand.
“It felt great,” Parrom said after contributing 6 points, 5 assists and 3 rebounds in Arizona’s 81-72 victory that propelled them into Friday’s final against Mississippi State. “It was a great feeling and it was good to be back home.”
Home has provided some difficult life experiences in recent weeks.
Parrom was shot by an intruder, later identified by police as Jason Gonzalez of The Bronx, in his father’s apartment in The Bronx less than two months ago. The attack, first reported by SNY.tv, left Parrom with bullet fragments in his leg. Gonzalez was charged with attempted murder in the case.
Parrom buried his mother, Lisa Williams, here four weeks ago.
His mother, like his grandmother, who passed away over the summer, both died of cancer so playing in a Coaches vs. Cancer event had even more meaning for Parrom.
Lisa Williams had wanted to hold on long enough to watch her son play at the Garden, but without her Parrom was supported by a large contingent of friends and family.
“I had a lot,” he said. “Some people got extra tickets, they bought tickets, so I don’t really know. It was a lot of support that was in the building today.”
He began the game wearing a breast cancer bracelet to honor his mother, but “they made me take it off.”
Immediately upon entering the game, Parrom drained a 3-pointer, and then hit another a few minutes later. As he backpedaled down the floor, he looked strong and confident, not at all like the victim of a shooting and family tragedy.
They would prove to be his only points of the game, but head coach Sean Miller said Parrom’s leadership will be immeasurable going forward.
“Without him, we’re not nearly the same team,” Miller said. “With him down the road, as he gets more comfortable and he comes back, that’s why I’m excited about our future.”
FREE THROWSSolomon Hill paced Arizona with 15 points and Jesse Perry had a double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds. Kyle Fogg (13 points), Jordin Mayes (12) and Nick Johnson (11) all scored in double-figures. Freshman point guard Josiah Turner returned from his one-game banishment and had eight points, four assists and one turnover. He also showed questionable judgment in leaving the bench during a second-half skirmish…Nurideen Lindsey led St. John’s with 18 points before fouling out. D’Angelo Harrison added 16 points, Moe Harkless tallied 13 and Phil Greene 12 for the Johnnies, who will face Texas A&M in Friday’s consolation game. “St. John’s has a very underrated team,” Miller said. “They lack some depth and they’re very young, but boy, they have some very talented players and I thought from their perspective they gave great effort. I mean, we’re fortunate to win a game like this in November, being so far from home in the great homecourt that Madison Square Garden represents.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.