Radford University dominated George Mason at home Wednesday night, winning 80-53 thanks to a 34-point performance from center Art Parakhouski.
This was my first in-person glance at Parakhouski since the 2009 Big South Championship game, when he led the Highlanders to the title over VMI. He was most impressive.
He displayed great intensity on the glass, going after rebounds rather than relying on his height and letting the ball come to him. He finished the game with 12 rebounds. He also displayed phenomenal court vision for a seven-footer, making several key assists in a second half that saw Radford outscore the Patriots 46-24.
I admit, after seeing Art last year I had my doubts when I began to read about his stock as an NBA prospect, but after tonight, it looks like he could very well be selected in next June's draft. He is very strong inside, and his nose for the ball on the glass could be valuable for a team at the next level.
He will have to develop more of a face-up game at the next level, which is one of the most rapidly developing trends for players of his size in the NBA. He already has a decent mid-range jump shot, but he must show the ability to put the ball on the floor against the Dwight Howards of the world.
Radford also looked very strong as a team Wednesday night, with a suffocating effort on the defensive end that held George Mason to a season-low 27 percent shooting.
It looks like the Highlanders should once again rule the Big South, as conference play cranks up this Saturday when UNC-Asheville comes to town. However, if Radford is able to make a second consecutive appearance in the NCAA tournament, they will be hard pressed to have a chance for an upset.
They have absolutely no depth in the backcourt. After point guard Amir Johnson, there is no other solid ball handler on the roster. Teams with superior athleticism in the backcourt compared to what Radford faces in-conference will pick the Highlanders apart. It will be hard for Parakhouski and frontcourt mate Joey Lynch-Flohr to even get the ball in the paint.
Head coach Brad Greenberg's biggest task between now and the end of the regular season is to develop more options in his backcourt, or it may be the same story, different season for his up-and-coming program.