Born in Belarus and having only a handful of seasons of organized basketball and English lessons under his belt, Artsiom Parakhouski
made a splash in his first season in the NCAA. After leading Radford to a Big South title and the NCAA tournament in 2009, Artsiom Parakhouski
returns to the small Virginia-based University for his senior season with the attention of NBA scouts.
Standing almost 7-feet tall and possessing a solid frame, the reigning Big South Player of the Year has an exceptional physical profile for a center, let alone one playing in a small NCAA conference. On top of his sheer size, Parakhouski possesses decent end to end mobility and some leaping ability, reminiscent of a less explosive Kyrylo Fesenko
, as he lacks a degree of lateral speed and the quick leaping ability that would help him translate his size to the next level. Often the tallest player on the floor by a wide margin in conference play, Parakhouskis averages of 16.2 points, 11.2 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks are all representative of his ability to impose his size on lesser competition.
While it is easy to write off some true centers posting good numbers in small conferences, Parakhouski is an interesting case due to his lack of playing experience, physical maturity, and his production against top competition. After two seasons at Junior College juggernaut Southern Idaho College where he proved to be a productive contributor, but not a first option, Parakhouski carried the load for Radford on most nights last season. Though he didnt have the best game of his career against Tyler Hansbrough
and UNC in the first round of the NCAA tournament, scoring 10 points on 3-15 shooting with 10 rebounds, he held his own against both Wake Forest and Virginia, going for a double-double in both contests.
Parakhouskis ability to show well against top competition will have a considerable impact on where hes slated moving into next years draft season. In the Big South, he proves incredibly difficult to stop, as the big target he provides underneath, his solid hands, and his ability to maneuver around the paint for offensive rebounds and dump passes earn him a lot of easy shots right at the basket. Showing good finishing ability, keeping the ball high and dunking it whenever possible, Parakhouski has his way with interior defenders in the Big South, though he is prone to have his shot blocked against players with comparable physical gifts.
In addition to finishing at a high rate, Parakhouski does some damage in post up situations at as well. Preferring to operate over his right shoulder, Parakhouski displays a nice turnaround jumper turning in either direction, and flashes a hook shot on occasion. Having little trouble turning and elevating over his defender, Parakhouskis short range touch appears solid, and hes even able to step out and knock down an occasional midrange jumper. Only average from the foul line, shooting only 65.5%, Parakhouskis improvements from the high post will only augment the things that he already does well on the college level.
Much like the instincts he displays in his basic back to the basket game, Parakhouski shows some good things on the defensive end. Disciplined and not overly foul prone, Parakhouski lacks the quickness to effectively defend the perimeter and the awareness to be a very good weakside defender. However, he plays solid defense when defending his man one-on-one in the post. One of the NCAA's top returning rebounders, as Parakhouski gains experience, his ability to be more physical defensively and react more quickly on the weakside will be essential to his defensive success regardless of where hes playing next season.
With only six years of organized basketball under his belt, Parakhouski has made a seamless transition to the NCAA. In position to repeat as Big South Player of the Year, if Parakhouski can lead his team to the NCAA tournament, hell have every opportunity to boost his stock and eventually get drafted. Considering his current level of competition, Parakhouski could be a candidate for the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament next spring, and is likely to see a lot of interest when teams begin scheduling private workouts. If Parakhouski can add some polish to his game, pack on some muscle, and continue on the learning curve that he appears to be on, he seems like a strong candidate to land in the second round given the premium put on size.