Sean Miller’s reasons to start Kevin Parrom last Sunday still apply, so the coach indicated the senior wing is likely to be in the starting lineup for a second consecutive game.
“Coach pretty much knows when I’m out there I’m going to play my hardest, whether I’m starting or the sixth man or whatever role I get,” Parrom said. “He trusts me in whatever role he puts me in.”
Miller went with Parrom in place of freshman power forward Brandon Ashley in Sunday’s 68-64 victory at Utah, and the Wildcats, curing a recent ill, had good starts to each half.
Whether that was cause-and-effect or not, there seems to be little reason to mess with that formula. That’s one consideration for Miller moving forward.
The other is he wants Parrom, a senior, to be in as important a position as possible as the season ticks toward March.
Parrom joins forward Solomon Hill and point guard Mark Lyons as senior starters.
“There’s no next year for me, Kevin and Mark,” Hill said. “It’s all about now.”
This is the now: When Arizona plays host to Washington on Wednesday night (9 p.m., ESPN2), Parrom will be making consecutive starts for the first time since his sophomore season, when he started a total of three games — all at the Pac-10 tournament.
Parrom, who played 29 minutes at Utah, had nine points and nine rebounds, making two key inside baskets in the final four minutes. That marked his highest point total since the conference opener on Jan. 3 and tied his season-high for rebounds.
Parrom, averaging 8.0 points and 4.9 rebounds, might have been pressing a bit in recent games, Miller said.
“Like a lot of seniors, when you come down the home stretch, sometimes you want to play so well it works against you,” Miller said.
“You just try to make everything bigger than it really needs to be. Every shot is kind of life or death in your mind, because you have just a few weeks left in your career. I think Kevin is a little bit like that. We talked in Utah about just being yourself, not making it any bigger than it needs to be.
“Injecting him into the starting lineup I think is a good way for us to show how much we believe in him.”
The lineup move was no detriment to Ashley. He played 22 minutes, slightly above his season average, making 4 of 5 shots and scoring 10 points. He also had four rebounds.
Miller called him “extremely unselfish.”
“Brandon was as big a reason why we beat Utah as any player,” the coach said. “To me, his role is as significant, if not more significant, moving forward because of how important his play is overall to our team’s success.”
Parrom, who has started just 12 of his 66 career games at Arizona, said he is fine with any role. Even as mostly a super-sub this season, he is averaging the fourth-most minutes on the team — 22.9 per game.
But he does add this:
“I’m happy I’m starting right now.”