Radford's Belarusian big man drawing attention of NBA scouts
It's a lofty goal, no doubt. But when one reviews the road Parakhouski has traveled so far, there is little reason to believe he can't make it. You may not have heard of him yet, but the NBA sure has.
The Toronto Raptors had a scout at Radford's practice on Monday, in fact, as the 6-foot-11, 260-pound senior continues to play his way onto the radar of a draft lacking center prospects. Parakhouski leads the nation in rebounding at 12.9 per game, is second in field goal percentage at 63.2 percent and third in scoring with 24.1 points per game. He had double-doubles at Duke (23 points, 14 rebounds) and Kansas (21, 13) and has scored in double-figures in every game. NBADraft.net projects the senior to go early in the second round, while DraftExpress.com has Parakhouski as the last pick of the first round -- a spot that would make history in his home country.
"That is my goal," Parakhouski said of the NBA (heavily emphasizing the "N" in his Russian accent). "I'm trying to prove that people in my country can be in the NBA if they want to be."
Wanting to reach the NBA and actually having the talent to do so are two different things, of course. His parents were national-level athletes and coach Belarusian national teams (mother
Basketball was the next logical step for a thick, 6-8 high schooler, but Parakhouski had never played the game.
"I was terrible," Parakhouski said. "I couldn't dribble. I couldn't shoot. I couldn't do anything with basketball at that moment."
But he developed some skills, and was spotted at the under-20 European Junior Championships in 2005 by
"The first six months were difficult mentally," Parakhouski said. "Culture was different, people was different, education was different. But I'm not a quitter. I told myself I'm going to the United States and I'm not going home no matter what. I faced my struggles and was not going to let the struggles hold me back."
Ton was hired by
"He's been able to be a featured guy for us since Day 1," Greenberg said. "He's getting tremendous experience. If he went somewhere else, he may not have been the No. 1 option on offense or played as many minutes."
Parakhouski led Radford to the NCAA tournament last season and faced
Parakhouski says his parents are following his career as best they can and he sends tapes of Radford's games back home. Parakhouski hasn't been back to Belarus in more than two years, but it is a sacrifice he knows he has to make.
"He understands he's not a finished player," said Greenberg, who has spent several years in different capacities in the NBA, including general manager of the 76ers. "He wants to play in the NBA. He realizes it doesn't happen overnight. He's just scratching the surface of what he can become. He wants to get better and better."
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