Lehigh men's basketball seniors Dominic Parolin (left) and Burke Chebuhar (right) on the court during the game against Lafayette on Feb. 10, 2024, in Stabler Arena. The two started their careers at Lehigh together and will continue to play basketball after graduation. (Holly Fasching/B&W Staff)

Mens basketball forward leaving lasting impact


With 8:57 left in the first half of the Lehigh basketball team’s Feb. 10 matchup against rival Lafayette, Leopards first-year guard Joshua Wyche nailed the visitor’s sixth 3-pointer of the period, stretching their lead to 21 points. 

Down 33-12 and boasting a sub-par 4-7 Patriot League record, the impending blowout seemed to accent what was quickly becoming a wasted year for Mountain Hawks, as the injury-plagued Lehigh team fell to last-place Army just three days prior. 

However, before anyone knew it, the Mountain Hawks transformed a possible loss into the turning point of their season. 

In the second half, Lehigh outscored the opponent, 37-23, and forced double overtime. 

Senior forwards Dominic Parolin and Burke Chebuhar led the team in scoring, adding 33 and 28 points, respectively. 

The 6-foot-9 Parolin knocked down five of his nine 3-point attempts, while Chebuhar sank 16 free throws after getting hacked down low throughout the contest. 

“We were just owning them in the paint,” Chebuhar said. 

Despite this, it was Chebuhar who knocked down a baseline jump shot with two seconds left to tie the game at 64 and force overtime. After two grueling overtime periods, the Mountain Hawks came away with a victory over their rivals. 

Powered by the comeback victory, Lehigh strung together five straight wins and secured the sixth seed in the Patriot League Tournament. 

After once again defeating Lafayette in the quarterfinals and taking down Boston University in the semifinals, the Mountain Hawks advanced to the Patriot League Championship for the first time since 2017.

Though Parolin and Chebuhar showcased their talent throughout the season as two of the Mountain Hawks’ most reliable players, their respective paths to Bethlehem didn’t indicate that they would lead the charge for a Patriot League Championship contender. 

Parolin is from Coquitlam, British Columbia, which limited his exposure to Division I opportunities because American coaches rarely recruit north of the border. 

He first spoke to a Division I coach as a senior in high school. Toward the end of the year, the COVID pandemic set in and Division I coaches couldn’t make the trip across the border to see him play, so all the interest he had from them receded. 

However, Lehigh decided to roll the dice. 

“(Lehigh was) the only school that took a chance on me,” Parolin said. “Just because so many schools wanted to see me play during that summer and weren’t able to, so they just wouldn’t take that risk — buying into a player they never saw in person.” 

Parolin committed to Lehigh after his senior year concluded and showed up to summer workouts just a month and a half later. 

Upon arriving at Lehigh, Parolin had to quarantine in his Farrington Square dorm for two weeks before he could start practicing. 

When he did start practicing, it was limited to one-on-ones and two- or three-person workouts. Full practices started in November, a month before the Mountain Hawks played their first game of the postponed season. 

Parolin’s first game was the season opener against Lafayette at Stabler Arena. 

6,200 seats. Zero fans. 

“It was kind of like hopping into a pickup game,” Parolin said. “I’d like to think of myself as a pretty good free throw shooter, and my very first free throw I ever took here I banked it in, so I guess that shows there definitely were some nerves.” 

Since then, Parolin said he thinks of himself as reliable and a leader to the underclassmen, but mostly as a high-effort contributor, which he said has not changed since he first arrived at Lehigh. 

“I think there’s no excuse not to be giving effort,” Parolin said. “It’s just a baseline for what you should be as a basketball player — effort is non-negotiable.” 

During his senior year, Parolin was a third-team All-Patriot League selection. He averaged 11.5 points and 4.6 assists per game and led the team in rebounds and blocks. 

Parolin saw some playing time during his first year, which was still a far cry from Chebuhar, whose first-year season at Division III Bowdoin College was canceled due to the pandemic. 

Chebuhar received no Division I offers, so the Marietta, Georgia, native said he pivoted to finding the best education he could while still playing basketball at some level. 

When his season was canceled and he spent his second semester fully remote, Chebuhar transferred to Lehigh to walk on to the team after one of his club coaches talked to Lehigh coach Brett Reed about his talent. 

“(Chebuhar’s) got a unique combination of size and skill,” Reed said. “He’s got a big frame, which is hard to come by, and he’s got the ability to shoot the basketball from the perimeter. Especially because we weren’t investing a scholarship resource into him, it seemed like a very attractive prospect for our basketball program.”

In Chebuhar’s first season as a Mountain Hawk, he played a total of 16 minutes across eleven games. 

“College basketball kind of hit me in the face,” Chebuhar said. “Going from high school to then not playing a year and then showing up on a Division I campus, it was a big adjustment.” 

He saw only 25 minutes in his second season at Lehigh but credited his teammates for believing in him. 

“I love my teammates, so they want to make you keep going even when you don’t want to keep going,” Chebuhar said. 

With Parolin injured, Chebuhar started his first game at Lehigh against Marist on Dec. 30. He found out five minutes before the game that he would be the one taking the court. 

After playing 41 minutes in total across two seasons, Chebuhar played 730 minutes in his senior season and made 22 starts. 

Now both starters, Parolin and Chebuhar anchored Lehigh’s front court en route to a Patriot League Championship appearance. 

Parolin said the two have become better players by continually encouraging each other in practice. 

“I think we definitely make each other better, especially because we are so similar,” Parolin said. “He’s better at some things and I’m better at other things, and I’m trying to push to be better than him at shooting and he wants to be better than me at rebounding.” 

The pair have lived together since their junior year, sharing similar playing styles but different personalities. 

Chebuhar, who earned the nickname “Cheese” due to his constant smile, characterized Parolin as quiet. 

“He’s definitely the type of guy that you gotta get to talk, but once he starts talking he’s a good dude,” Chebuhar said. “Obviously, that just goes with trust.”

Chebuhar noted Parolin was one of the first players he became friends with. He said they connected because they are both unselfish players who are focused solely on winning. 

Now, the pair are set to graduate and play basketball elsewhere while also earning their graduate degrees. 

Parolin noted that the move was a no-brainer due to his extra year of eligibility while Chebuhar said he is excited to keep playing after getting his first experience as a collegiate starter. 

“I just want to keep pushing myself just because of how the year went and I still think I’m not a finished product,” Chebuhar said. 

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