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Arizona basketball: Wounds, mom's cancer weigh on Parrom

Arizona basketball: Wounds, mom's cancer weigh on Parrom

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UCLA 74, Arizona 69: Free fall puts Cats 4th

UCLA point guard Larry Drew II, splits UA defenders, from left, Grant Jerrett, Mark Lyons and Kaleb Tarczewski. Drew had 14 points and nine assists.

Two bullet fragments remain lodged in Kevin Parrom's upper right leg, probably forever. His right foot is in a temporary boot thanks to tissue, nerve and other damage from a bullet that entered the side of his right knee.

And three fingers on Parrom's left hand are wrapped in bandages, hiding lacerations from another gunshot that just grazed him.

But all that is only half of the pain the Arizona Wildcats forward faces now, in the wake of a Sept. 24 shooting at his New York home in the Bronx.

Parrom's mother, Lisa Williams, is hospitalized again, making a last-ditch effort to stave off the aggressive cancer that she's had for more than two years.

She was the reason Parrom went home that fateful weekend. She is what Parrom spoke softly about Tuesday, when he and UA coach Sean Miller detailed Parrom's condition in an interview with the Star.

"She's hanging on," Parrom said. "She's fighting for her life right now. I know she's strong enough that she's going to fight through this. But right now, it's not in my hands. I've got to pray every day and hope that she can make it to the next day."

Parrom knows he will make it to the next day. He realized he was that lucky while being treated for gunshot wounds during two days at Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx.

He declined to go into details about the shooting incident; Jason Gonzalez of the Bronx was charged with attempted murder in connection with the incident.

Miller said the weekend trip home originated after Parrom's grandmother died and UA staff learned Parrom's mother was in serious condition.

The UA coach said he and Parrom's family agreed on a weekend for the player to go home and that the family purchased his plane ticket. Miller added that Parrom flew out on a red-eye that arrived Sept. 23 and spent most of the day with his mother before meeting a woman - a longtime friend with whom Parrom has a platonic relationship - at his father's apartment.

"The biggest thing is he's not in the middle of Manhattan at a club," Miller said. "He's not out at 3 in the morning, drunk. He doesn't have a gun. Another person has a gun. He's sitting on the couch, in the very place he grew up, with a friend."

According to New York police: Two men entered the apartment when the woman answered the door, and Parrom ran inside the bedroom and locked it. The men broke open the door, a scuffle ensued and Parrom was shot - police said only once, to the leg, but Parrom said his hand was grazed, too.

Martin Fisher, Gonzalez's attorney, has declined comment and has not returned phone calls to the Star.

Miller and UA trainer Justin Kokoskie said it's too early to tell how long Parrom will be out, although it's certain the player will miss the opening of full preseason practices Friday. The UA has applied to the NCAA for a waiver that would allow Parrom to remain eligible while taking one fewer class than normal.

"This was a gunshot wound, not an ankle sprain or someone pulling a hamstring," Kokoskie said. "With that, there's a tremendous amount of healing that needs to take place. … We are cautiously optimistic but only time will tell."

What UA does know is that Parrom couldn't move his leg after the shooting and had muscle exposed from a bullet wound that initially measured over an inch long.

Less than three weeks later, Parrom can walk almost normally, and the wound has shrunk dramatically. The gunshot fragments will probably not be removed because of the risk involved. In addition, the lacerations on Parrom's hand are no impediment to basketball.

"There are some days like (Monday) that are frustrating, where he doesn't see a lot of progress, but (Tuesday) he maybe feels a little better," Miller said. "It's a daily process, and week by week. The thing we talk about is every Friday, 'OK, where was I a week ago on Friday? Where was I two Fridays ago?'"

One other thing matters about Fridays. It's that Parrom keeps having them.

"I'm just happy to be here. I'm happy to be alive. I'm happy to breathe," Parrom said. "I'm not really dwelling on that situation any more. I'm just trying to move forward with my life."

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