NCAA Basketball: New York Duo Helps Turn Around Arizona Wildcats' Season

Tom PhillipsCorrespondent IFebruary 16, 2010

The Arizona Wildcats have hit a speed bump in their season, losing three of the past four games.

Before this, their midseason turnaround can be attributed to the maturation of two freshmen who come from the other side of the country: New York. Kevin Parrom and Lamont "Momo" Jones took very different routes in order to get to Arizona, but it seems to have been beneficial to all parties involved.

Parrom originally signed his letter of intent to Arizona's coach, Sean Miller, when he was at Xavier. Once Miller left for Arizona, Parrom received his release and shortly thereafter, he signed with Arizona.

Momo was recruited by Arizona once Miller came to the desert. His final two schools were Arizona and USC; he chose Tim Floyd and the Trojans. Once the OJ Mayo-Floyd scandal hit, Momo along with Derrick Williams, decided that playing for the Wildcats was the best situation for them.

Parrom and Momo have both seen their playing time increase as the season has gone along. Parrom was out with an injury, while Momo seemed to be in the doghouse and was suspended one game over the trip to the Southern California schools.

That trip is when things seemed to click for the Cats.

Parrom was out for the first month and a half of the season and struggled to get in the flow. The UCLA-USC trip is when he seem to find his flow.

While Parrom is only averaging 4.4 points a game, he brings the intangibles that every team needs. He plays defense; he hustles; and he is not afraid to get into it with the other team.

Parrom has quickly become a fan favorite with the McKale Center crowd for his hard foul on ASU guard Ty Abbott in Tempe. After the game he posted on Twitter, "I'm from the Bronx...No Easy Buckets." Arizona fans have already made up shirts with the saying on them.

The next week Parrom was inserted into the starting lineup where he has become a mainstay.

Momo has taken a different route to getting better. He couldn't find his role on the team, but the suspension seems to have been a wake up call.

Before the suspension, he was always looking to take his own shot and not worry about getting his teammates involved. It looked like Arizona would have an undersized shooting guard going into the future.

A lot of this has changed since the suspension. Momo has matured a lot as a point guard; he has gotten his teammates involved; and he is not looking at improving his own stats.

Jones' improvement has allowed Arizona to rest easy about finding a point guard of the future.

Parrom and Momo have become a big part of the turnaround for the Wildcats. If Arizona has any chance of making of making the tournament, it will rely on the continued improvement of the freshman class—especially this New York duo.