TheBaker’s College Basketball Files: The NCAA’s Ivan Drago

January 20, 2010 – 1:57 am by Matthew Glenesk

JC-RADFORDHOOPS-01I was first introduced to Art Parakhouski during Championship Week last year. The Radford center single-handedly transformed the Highlanders from a 10-20 cellar dweller in the Big South to the conference’s champion in his first season at the school. The 6-foot-11 center scored 26 points and pulled down 18 rebounds in Radford’s thrilling 108-94 NCAA Tournament berth-clinching victory over VMI.

“I’m going to remember that kid,” I told myself.

So I decided to keep taps on Radford’s senior big man. And Artsiom hasn’t disappointed.

Big Art is fourth in the nation in scoring, averaging 23.1 points a game, and third in rebounding, pulling down 12.9 boards a contest.

And he’s not just piling up numbers against cupcakes like Presbyterian and Gardner-Webb.

At Duke, Art finished with 23 points and 14 rebounds. Radford lost 104-67.
At Kansas, Art finished with 21 points and 13 rebounds. Radford lost 99-64.

Projected as a late first/early second round draft pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, I figured to see more of Parakhouski in the NCAA Tournament. But Radford is 9-7, 5-2 in the Big South, and far from a sure thing. But all hope is not lost. The Highlanders did manage to hand conference leaders Coastal Carolina its only loss in league play with a 62-56 road win last week.

In the lead-up for Coastal Carolina’s clash last week versus Radford, Josh Hoke of the Myrtle Beach Sun News penned this about the reigning Big South Player of the Year.

“There are similarities between Radford’s Art Parakhouski and Ivan Drago, the fictional Soviet boxer from the movie ‘Rocky IV.’

Parakhouski, a 6-foot-11, 260-pound center, is a native of Belarus, a former Soviet republic. Both have chiseled bodies and were seemingly destined to thrive in their sports. The big difference? Unlike the ending of Rocky IV, when Rocky Balboa knocks out Drago after a marathon bout, Americans aren’t winning many battles against Parakhouski.”

I’m guessing Mr. Hoke gets a little bit too much creative leeway from his editor. But I’m never one to scoff at a flimsy correlation to one of my favorite movies growing up. It’s a film that truly was spurred on by its classically awesome 80s montage music. What a soundtrack. Right up there with the very best.

So Art, let me introduce you to the Art Parakhouski Montage: Rocky IV Style.

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