Radford center Artsiom Parakhouski has one goal: to become the first Belarusian to play in the NBA.
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."