When Arizona Wildcats forward Kevin Parrom was asked what members of his family would be on hand for Saturday's Senior Day ceremony, this was how he responded:
"My brother will be here, my father is coming, and my mother will be in attendance," he said.
Parrom's mother, Lisa Williams, died of cancer on Oct. 16, 2011.
That was three weeks after Parrom raced home to visit her. After doing so, he was shot in the leg and hand at his father's Bronx apartment.
So even though the Wildcats won't have a chance to win the Pac-12 championship outright on Saturday even if they beat Arizona State at McKale Center, a situation UA coach Sean Miller said is "very disappointing," don't tell the Wildcats there isn't much on the line.
Certainly, Williams wouldn't feel that way.
"I'm going to try to do the best I can to get this win," Parrom said. "She didn't like us losing. When she was alive it was, 'You know, Kev, what you guys doing losing all these games?'"
Parrom said he remembers vividly when his mother would call after games, never criticizing anything specific but wanting the most from her son and his teammates.
"She hates losing, especially consecutive games when the effort wasn't there," Parrom said. "I always remember that. She got on me for that especially when I was younger. I think that's why I play so hard now."
Parrom's urgency isn't the only motivation the Wildcats will have Saturday. A win would improve Arizona's NCAA tournament résumé and give it some momentum entering the Pac-12 tournament next week.
Senior forward Solomon Hill said it's about "finishing strong," and Miller said it could also give the Wildcats a chance to put their entire season in a good context.
"The bigger picture is (with a win) you're 24-6, winning 12 games in conference, having a bye in Vegas if we beat Arizona State, then being a part of the (NCAA) tournament," Miller said. "And once we're there, we'll see where that goes.
"That's a big picture right now that I don't really believe we're even talking about. It's so much about the respect we have for ASU and the opportunity to win our 12th game. It's not going to be easy. I think we'll all feel really good if we're able to do it here on Saturday."
Although Miller said Arizona had a good week of practice so far, the truth is that the Wildcats didn't feel all that good after losing to USC and UCLA last week. They kicked away their chance at an outright conference title, a situation that still eats away at Miller.
"I'm very disappointed that we didn't win our conference championship at this point," Miller said Thursday during his weekly news conference. "We got all the way to (conference) Game 17 being able to make this game on Saturday about a lot of things - not just Senior Day or playing Arizona State - but also having a chance to be a part of a regular-season conference championship. That's been one of our goals from the outset. We didn't meet that.
"Certainly we were not very far off, but when you think about our performance in L.A. (last) week it's disappointing. It's not just this past week. It's the Cal home game or whatever game you want to point to, that prevented us from being a part of it this Saturday."
Arizona lost to Cal on Feb. 10, at Colorado on Feb. 14, and at the Los Angeles schools last week.
That's two straight losses, and four in the past seven games, enough to make Parrom's ears ring.
Mom isn't putting up with this.
"I can't lose in my last game," Parrom said. "Can't accept that. We can't lose three in a row. Can't lose to ASU in our last home game."
StarNet video: See what Sean Miller thinks of ASU at azstarnet.com/video
StarNet photos: Find photos of the Wildcat seniors at azstarnet.com/gallery
• Who: ASU at No. 18 Arizona
• When: 2:30 p.m. Saturday
• TV: FSAZ
• Radio: 1290-AM, 107.5-FM, 990-AM (Spanish)
Contact reporter Bruce Pascoe at 573-4145 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @BrucePascoe