Finally, it appears there is some NBA draft buzz going on about Artsiom Parakhouski, the big Belarusian center who has been enjoying some massive games for the small-school Radford Highlanders in the NCAAs in America.
After bringing small-town Radford into the the NCAA Madness last season, Parakhouski is continuing his success to this season.
Parakhouski is currently fourth in college hoops in scoring this season, averaging 23.6 points per game through Radford’s first 18 games, but it has been his performances against some of the biggest colleges that have made his stock rise.
Radford would not be expected to compete against the likes of Duke and Kansas, and indeed they were heavily beaten by both, but Parakhouski managed 23 points and 14 rebounds against the Blue Devils and added 21 and 13 against the then No 1 Jayhawks.
Although Radford’s 10-8 record is slightly disappointing as far as NBA draft picks are concerned, and 6-3 in the Big South definitely is, it is not for the want of trying for Parakhouski who continues to dominate inside as one of few pure big men in the college ranks.
His size makes him stand out, but until the last couple of months he had gone right under the radar. That seems to have changed now, though, as he is headed towards a late first-round grade the way his big performances are rolling in.
Parakhouski is second in the nation in rebounding at 12.9 per game, and with the increased need for internal defense in the NBA, he could well end up sticking in the first round with one of the decent teams picking late who can afford to groom him into a dominant big man in the professional ranks.
And Parakhouski would be breaking new ground for his country in the NBA, as no Belarusian has yet made it that far.
His rise is all the more incredible when you factor in the knowledge that until he was 16, Parakhouski had never been interested in basketball and was a budding soccer player until his height began to take over.
Five years later, from being at a point where he couldn’t even dribble a basketball, he is on the verge of stardom and becoming one of the most recognised sporting stars to come from his country.