Sean Miller further upgraded his optimism about Kevin Parrom's recovery today, saying the junior wing will likely be ready by December if not before then while quickly rehabilitating from two gunshot wounds suffered on Sept. 24.
Miller said Parrom would probably begin fully practicing with the Wildcats in "a little bit beyond a week," which could mean there's still a slight chance Parrom could even return to play in his hometown on Nov. 17-18 at the 2K Sports Classic at Madison Square Garden.
Six weeks ago, after he was shot, Parrom could not feel anything below his right knee, where a bullet entered the side of his knee. There was talk of redshirting him, which does not exist any more.
"He's working out every day now full blast," Miller said. "He has additional movement that he didn't have two weeks ago and he has almost his entire feeling back. He's made a lot of progress. "
Miller said Parrom "doesn't have the explosion yet" but was confident he would as he begins to practice more. As of now, Parrom can undergo a 45-60 minute workout by himself and join the Wildcats for limited drills.
"Time is on his side," Miller said.
Parrom's return will come as an obvious relief for Miller, who will have more flexibility with his frontcourt, as well as a tough-minded shooter.
"When you look at our struggles off the bat ... I look at Kevin as a really big part of what we're doing," Miller said. "To have him return to 100 percent will be a significant boost to our performance. Why is that? He can really shoot the ball. He's one player we know can score 20 points. He's one of the most physical players we have. He's experienced. He can guard a number of players. All of those things I'm talking about, we really need right now."
In a brief media gathering today, Miller also hinted that Angelo Chol has already surpassed Sidiki Johnson as the backup center behind Kryrl Natyazhko. He said Chol and Natyazhko would essentially split time at center while the staff continues to develop Johnson.
Parrom's expected return means Chol isn't as needed at power forward, since both Solomon Hill and Jesse Perry can play take the minutes there. In addition, Miller said he quickly realized after two exhibition games that Chol will be most effective at center as a freshman.
"Our four-man plays like a true perimeter player," Miller said. "Although Angelo has more perimeter skills, I think he has more perimeter skills when he's playing against a bigger player, more of a true frontcourt player. As his career goes it'll be easy for him to play (other positions) down the road. Right now having him at that five position is his best position and it's best for our team."
Miller also did not blame guard Kyle Fogg for shooting a combined 3-for-13 over UA's two exhibition games.
"He hasn't had many good looks (at the basket) and that's a function of our offense," Miller said. "We played a lot of minutes in our last game where we didn't have one assist. It's not like we had a number of guys not passing but there's not a real fluidity to our offense. But I believe we've made progress there already. ... Part of what we have to do is put Kyle in a position to get great shots."
-- Miller said he probably would stick with the same lineup in Monday's opener that he's used in exhibition play: Josiah Turner, Fogg, Hill,Perry and Kyryl Natyazhko.
-- UA players were not available for comment today.
-- A full notebook will be posted at midnight.