A year ago today, Arizona forward Kevin Parrom was back home in New York City for the saddest of reasons: His mother, Lisa Williams, was losing her battle with cancer, and she had asked her son to come home to say goodbye. After spending the day beside a hospital bed, Parrom was at his father's house in the Bronx when two men broke in, chased Parrom down the street, and shot him in the leg.
The shooting, the most sensational portion of Parrom's story, received plenty of coverage. But it was hardly the full extent of Parrom's brutal 2011-12 season. Besides being shot, Parrom lost his grandmother and his mother, recovered from his gunshot wound in time to return to the Wildcats' lineup and (somewhat miraculously, really) make an impact off the bench, and play in an emotional homecoming trip to Madison Square Garden at the 2K Sports Classic ... before, believe it or not, breaking his foot and losing the rest of his season to injury.
In short, the last 12 months of Parrom's life couldn't possibly have presented him with more adversity. Which is why it's so impressive to see him remain so upbeat, to remember his mother as an inspirational force, as he told Arizona Daily Star reporter Bruce Pascoe for Pascoe's excellent feature Sunday:
"It's all positive and not negative," Parrom said. "I can't really pinpoint what she said, but it's little motivational speeches.
"If I'm not having a good day, at the end of the night, I'll hear her voice saying: 'Kev, you got another day. Let's be better tomorrow than we were today.' Little stuff like that."
Be sure to read Pascoe's entire story; I don't want to blockquote too much, because it deserves your full attention.
I can't possibly imagine what the last year of Parrom's life must have been like, or how dark some of the darkest moments must have felt. But, despite it all, the dude is maintaining a positive outlook. Even the most die-hard Arizona hater -- UCLA fans or Arizona State fans or anyone else who'll be cheering hard against Arizona when their teams square off this winter -- will still be able to root for the kid to have a huge 2012-13. Heck, we all will.