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Player Preview: Jesse Perry

November 3rd, 2011 News No Comments

Pras Murthy

Keep an eye on the front page of in the weeks leading up to the basketball season for more player previews. Make sure to check out the ones you missed:

The Past:

Perry has only been a Wildcat for one year, but his blue collar attitude has already made him a fan favorite. The quiet and reserved (at least in public) junior college transfer contributed last year by rebounding and being active in the paint. With Derrick Williams along side him, Perry wasn’t asked to do much other the clean up the glass, get put backs, and defend.

Perry’s best performance was in Arizona’s final game against Uconn, when Perry led the team with 14 points off 7-9 shooting and also grabbed 7 rebounds. Arizona hopes Perry can build off that effort and become a regular scorer. Perry’s averages last year were modest at 6.6 points and 4.4 rebounds in 19 minutes. The hope is that Perry can improve his rebounding totals dramatically, as he never broke double digits last season. Of course, that had a lot to do with Williams pulling down 8 boards a night.

The Present:

The biggest change for Perry this offseason has been physical. With his first full summer in Chris Rounds’ system, Perry has added a significant amount of bulk. This should help him establish position in the paint, as well as defend bigger opponents. Perry will be likely be asked to play heavy minutes at power forward, so how he uses his extra strength will go a long ways towards Arizona’s post defense.

The Future:

With Williams gone, Perry will see more low post looks. But he will also receive more defensive attention. Perry benefited many times last year on the weak side while defenses were trapping Williams. Perry will now be asked to create his own shot more often.

In short, Arizona will need Perry to continue to do the little things, but in larger quantities. Perry should see increased minutes, and the hope is that will lead to increased scoring as well. One area where improvement is needed is free throw shooting. Perry was second worst on the team (.691) from the charity stripe, only ahead of Jordin Mayes. Increased touches in the paint will lead to more free throws, and improving his percentage will be a major part of Perry’s attempt to replace the efficient scoring of Derrick Williams.

With his long dreads, workman like approach, and St. Louis style, Perry should continue to be a fan favorite. While Perry is a senior, he isn’t expected to be a vocal leader. But, he will be counted on to teach Arizona’s young big men how to succeed at the college level. The extent to which Perry can increase his all around effect on the game will determine how much pressure is placed on the freshmen post players. If Perry can grow into a double digit scorer and play tough defense, Arizona will have tremendous flexibility in terms of line ups and tempo.

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