What Perry’s verbal commitment means for Arizonaby Javier Morales on Mar. 28, 2010, under Sports
Opponents will find it more difficult to defend Arizona next season because of the verbal commitment Sunday night of Logan (Ill.) Junior College forward Jesse Perry.
The Wildcats often became stagnant in their halfcourt sets this season, which is a significant reason why they finished 16-15 overall and without an NCAA tournament appearance for the first time in 26 years.
Perry, a 6-foot-8-inch versatile forward, averaged 18 points and 10 rebounds for Logan this season. He also shot a reported 48 percent from three-point range and at one point this season made 27 consecutive free throws. He is an aggressive player who can create his own shot off the dribble.
“He has the ability to play both forward spots, has excellent ball skills and solid range on his jump shot,” reports Van Coleman of Hoopmasters.com. “He can face at the arc and takes bigs off the dribble or roll and post, using his quicks and bounce to score in the paint.”
That description did not fit any of the current Wildcat wing players on a consistent basis this season.
UA freshman wing player Solomon Hill on occasion showed the ability to play inside and outside, but he was inconsistent mostly because of his youth. Fellow freshman Kevin Parrom missed significant playing time on two occasions during the season because of a stress fracture in his right foot. Parrom should be more of a benefit to the Wildcats in the vicinity of the basket next season.
Jamelle Horne, who will be the Cats’ lone senior next season, showed a decent shooting touch from three-point range this season, making 43.5 percent from beyond the arc. However, he was only slightly better in shots within the three-point stripe: 46.1 percent. Horne had one of the most peculiar stats among the Wildcats — he made 50 of 115 shots from three-point range and 53 of 115 shots within that range.
The most glaring reality of these stats is that Horne was not aggressive enough around the basket as a 6-7 forward who can leap as well as anyone in the Pac-10. The quality that Perry brings to the Wildcats that Horne has lacked thus far is the ability to put the ball on the floor, penetrate and create shots for himself or his teammates.
This new dimension for the Wildcats should keep defenders honest, forcing them to extend and therefore creating more room for Pac-10 Freshman of the Year Derrick Williams and for guards to penetrate.
Defensively, Perry is relentless, according to Logan assistant coach Kyle Smithpeters.
“When he first showed up here two years ago, he was like a twig at 179 pounds,” Smithpeters said. “He has become stronger and put on weight, which means he can hold his own defensively. He also has a good nose for the ball because he has a good basketball IQ.”
This is Miller’s first recruitment of a junior college player in his six years as a head coach (the first five at Xavier). He had a few transfers from other colleges while at the Cincinnati school, but he never signed one that played at the junior college level.
Perry was not recruited by Arizona until November, when UA assistant coach Archie Miller scouted Perry’s teammate, point guard Lazeric Jones. The Millers watched Perry play again soon after that and offered him a scholarship.
“The real reason I decided was because I felt that was the place that could make me better,” Perry told Scout.com. “Coach Sean and Archie [Miller] and the other guys on the staff I created a relationship with each and every coach and the players that are there. That’s a place I can go play and be a big impact player.”
Perry was also recruited out of Logan by UCLA, South Carolina, Southern Illinois and Iowa State. When he graduated from St. Louis Gateway High School in 2008, he was recruited by St. Louis coach Rick Majerus.
The Wildcats’ Class of 2010 now includes Perry, shooting guard Daniel Bejarano of Phoenix North High School and combo guard Jordin Mayes of Los Angeles Westchester High School. Bejarano has signed a national letter of intent, while Perry and Mayes have offered non-binding verbal commitments.
Other potential Class of 2010 recruits for Arizona include Manhattan (N.Y.) power forward Kadeem Jack, Baltimore Lake Clifton point guard Josh Selby and Mouth of Wilson (Va.) Oak Hill Academy combo guard Doron Lamb. All three have completed official visits to Arizona.
The spring signing period starts April 14.
Please visit WILDABOUTAZCATS.com to read more reader commentary about Perry’s commitment and other UA sports items