There are players - many of them freshmen on the McKale Center floor during Sunday's Red-Blue Game - who look around a sold-out arena for the first time and gasp.

"You smell popcorn for the first time," UA coach Sean Miller said, "and all of a sudden, everything's a little harder."

And then there are players like Kevin Parrom, who paused during the exhibition and took it all in.

"Speechless," Parrom said.

To understand the senior's emotion, you have to rewind one season.

Parrom gingerly jogged through pregame warmups during last year's Red-Blue Game, but did not play, less than one month removed from being shot in the right leg.

A week before last year's scrimmage, Parrom lost his mother, Lisa Williams, to cancer.

Those circumstances justified a warm welcome from last year's crowd.

It was almost matched Sunday.

Parrom's ovation might have been the loudest during player introductions. At the least, it trailed only the roar for fellow senior Solomon Hill.

"When I went out there last year, I was just happy to be able to run out there, support my teammates," Parrom said. "This year was kinda like, I went through something last year and, this year, it's finishing.

"It's part of my process."

The fan reaction was "amazing," said Parrom, and he responded Sunday.

The 6-foot-6-inch, 220-pound wing scored 17 points on 5-of-8 shooting and grabbed six rebounds on the Blue team.

But he cited the simplest of pleasures afterward.

"Being able to run," he said. "It was a special moment for me."

If any UA player deserves a special moment, it's the Bronx, N.Y., native.

After returning from his gunshot injury last season, Parrom broke his foot in January, just as he was starting to resemble his 2010-11 self.

"I watched the season before I came, when he was 100 percent," said guard Nick Johnson of the UA's Elite Eight campaign. "He was one of the best players on the team.

"Last year … when the first injury happened, and then the second, he just kept on grinding. We saw him staying in the gym, getting shots up."

That continued through the summer, when Johnson said he and Parrom "were on the 20,000-shot workout plan," working on their jumpers to the point of exhaustion.

"He's 100 percent," Johnson said. "It's good to have him back."

Parrom said he was thrilled to meet members of the 1988 UA Final Four team, namely Steve Kerr and Sean Elliott, considered two of the greatest players in program history.

"Talking to them was amazing," he said.

Parrom was most impressed that each member of the '88 team seemed to be doing well in a variety of fields, from coaching to announcing to music production to business.

"Doing whatever they can to be successful for their families," he said.

Parrom's own success story, too, was measured Sunday.

Year over year, the senior could appreciate how his life had changed since the last scrimmage.

In some respects, it had nothing to do with basketball.

In others, it absolutely did, as a sold-out crowd at the team's season kickoff could attest.

"I'm 100 percent," Parrom said. "I feel solid.

"Mentally, I'm back to where I was my sophomore year.

"I feel great. It's as simple as that."