Arizona-Arizona State is one of the most intense rivalries in all of college sports— it was actually deemed the most intense in a recent study reported on by the New York Times—and there is nobody who better represents that than former UA forward Kevin Parrom.
The Bronx, New York native, who played for the UA from 2009 to 2013, was famously part of one of the most heated plays in the Territorial Cup’s recent history.
On Jan. 23, 2010, during Sean Miller’s first season at the UA, Parrom etched himself into Arizona basketball lore when he chased down ASU guard Ty Abbott and delivered a hard foul on the former Sun Devil as Abbott went up for a breakaway layup midway through the second half of a 77-58 Wildcats’ victory.
Not only did Parrom, then a freshman, earn a technical foul and draw the ire of a hostile Tempe crowd for the play, but he then smiled in his adversary’s face as Abbott spun around and went chest to chest with him.
To seal his fate as a legend of the Sean Miller era, Parrom sent out a tweet following the Wildcats’ blowout win that will forever be remembered in Tucson:
“ASWho?!?!?” I’m from tha Bronx, New York. No Easy Buckets.”
Just like that, the legend of “No Easy Buckets” was born and Parrom became an instant fan-favorite in McKale Center. There were even T-shirts made to commemorate the play.
It was a truly legendary moment, and ahead of this weekend’s renewal of the rivalry at the McKale Center (tip is set for 7:30 p.m. MST) we were able to talk to Parrom about playing against ASU, this year’s Arizona team and, of course, that famous play in Tempe all those years ago.
Arizona Desert Swarm: What can you say about playing in the Arizona-Arizona State rivalry?
Kevin Parrom: “The rivalry is very big in Arizona, and everyone in Tucson expects us to come out on top each and every time we play ASU. It’s just a big game, a big night. Every time you face them you always want to come out on top.”
AZDS: Did playing against Arizona State feel different compared to other games you played in?
KP: “Coach Miller made sure we were ready for each and every game, so honestly the ASU game was just as big to us as the exhibition game. We had a quote, ‘do what we do’ and it didn’t matter who we were playing, we just made sure we were at our top each and every game. But we all knew playing ASU was an important game and we all had it circled on our calendar every year.”
AZDS: What do you remember of that night your freshman year in Tempe?
KP: “I remember as a freshman I wanted to come in and make a huge impact alongside MoMo Jones, Derrick Williams, Solomon Hill, just to name a few. At that time, we were freshmen, we were hungry, we were young and we wanted to prove to everyone that they were wrong about us and prove that we were better than Arizona State. I remember it definitely being a wild atmosphere in there that night.”
AZDS: Can you take us through the famous “No Easy Buckets” play and what exactly was going through your mind as it all happened?
KP: “With the ‘No Easy Buckets’ play, I was just trying to make a hard play on the ball. It just so happened to be Ty Abbott and I think that if it was anyone else, the same thing would have happened. You can ask Coach Miller, he knows, and he’ll tell you. I just play hard especially on the defensive end. At that time of the game, we were up 10 and we had a lot of momentum going on. No Easy Buckets wasn’t familiar in Tucson or Arizona, nobody really knew much about it, but in New York I think everyone plays at that level, nothing is easy in the paint. Ty Abbott had a wide-open layup and I just couldn’t let him get it.”
AZDS: What did Coach Miller say to you afterwards?
KP: “I honestly don’t remember what Coach Miller said to me after the game, especially about the play. But he wasn’t upset or anything like that because he knew what kind of player I was. He knew that I was just trying to make a hard play on the ball. In the moment I didn’t really think it would be as big of a deal as everyone made it. The tweet made it bigger than it was supposed to be.”
AZDS: How did he respond to that since-deleted tweet?
KP: “Now that I think of it, Coach Miller wasn’t upset about the play, he was upset about the tweet after. You know, I was a freshman and I probably shouldn’t have tweeted after the game, but I was excited we got the win and I was excited about the play I had. I think he was a little upset about that and I don’t think I should have tweeted it, but look what it’s become now. I think it’s had a huge impact.”
AZDS: How did the play, the tweet, that night in general impact your Arizona career going forward?
KP: “The ‘No Easy Buckets’ play had a big impact on my career because there was a certain level on defense that everyone expected me to play at from then on. I loved it. I knew what I could do on the offensive end, I knew I was a jack of all trades type of player, but on the defensive end I just wanted to be consistent, and after that play I had to be consistent because everyone expected that out of me.”
AZDS: Finally, can you give us your opinion of this year’s Arizona team?
KP: “I think this year’s team has all the tools to be great. They have a skilled point guard in Nico [Mannion], they have a bunch of skilled wings, a bunch of forwards who can do a little bit of everything, some long lanky guys. I think they will be great in the tournament if they can stay consistent. I know coach is going to have those guys ready for March, that’s what he’s prepping them for.
“I think the key for them will just be that consistency and just how far those young guys can take the team. It will all depend on the freshman that they have, how quick they can develop, how quick they can mature, and I think everyone knows that. If everyone can continue to gel, I think the sky is the limit for them in March. I think it’s time and I think everyone in Tucson knows it’s time to get back to the Final Four and not only get back to the Final Four but to win a National Championship. It will be exciting come March and I know Coach Miller will have the team ready. Tucson should be ready too.”