UK coaches John Calipari and Orlando Antigua got a chance to see 2014 point guard Josh Perkins in action over the weekend, but they didn’t see the Colorado native at his best.
Perkins played in the Reebok Breakout Challenge at “about 70 percent,” the player’s father and AAU coach, Randy Perkins, told the Herald-Leader on Wednesday night. Josh Perkins is recovering from a back injury suffered during last month’s NBPA Top 100 Camp.
Still, the five-star prospect held his own in the Philadelphia event, which included talented seniors Emmanuel Mudiay and Rashad Vaughn.
“He was so adamant about getting back out there, and his buddies like (Mudiay) and those guys told him to show up,” Randy Perkins said. “So he showed up. And he still played pretty well. He just didn’t have his bounce and his lateral quickness.”
Perkins’ father said UK is staying in contact with the family, but Calipari has yet to offer a scholarship. The UK coaches will have a couple more opportunities to see Perkins play this summer. The point guard is headed for an event in Texas on Thursday, and he’ll play in Las Vegas next week.
After that, Perkins will turn his attention to a college decision.
Randy Perkins said his son plans to make that announcement Aug. 25, his birthday. The challenge will be to schedule visits between the end of the July recruiting period, the start of his senior year of high school, and that decision date.
Perkins is transferring to Huntington Prep for his senior season after spending his entire high school career in Colorado. He’s scheduled to arrive in Huntington during the second week of August.
Perkins has three official visits left. He already has seen Gonzaga and New Mexico, the latter when Steve Alford was coach. Alford, now coach at UCLA, wants Perkins to use one of his remaining official visits on a trip to UCLA, which is considered one of the favorites. Southern Cal, UConn and Minnesota also are possibilities.
Then there’s Kentucky.
Randy Perkins said UK is definitely a candidate for an official visit. Lexington is less than two hours from Huntington, and Perkins’ father expects to hear more from the UK staff over the next few weeks.
Last weekend’s event in Philadelphia was one of the first opportunities Calipari and Antigua have had to watch Perkins play in person. His father understands that they might need a little more time before extending an offer.
“It’s a gamble,” Randy Perkins said. “I know the kid, but those coaches don’t know him. He’s flown under the radar for so long, and people are starting to get a glimpse of what’s been out there for a long time. He said in one of his interviews that he hasn’t gotten better; he’s just being seen.”
24/7 Sports national analyst Jerry Meyer told the Herald-Leader last month that Perkins is one of the best passers he has scouted in the past 10 years. Meyer, and several others, consider Perkins a five-star prospect and possibly the third-best point guard in the class of 2014, behind Mudiay and Tyus Jones.
If the UK offer doesn’t come in time for Perkins’ planned August announcement, don’t expect him to postpone the decision. He cut Duke from contention earlier this year because the Blue Devils’ staff told him he was a “back-up” plan for Jones.
“He operates under the notion that people continue to overlook him, and he likes that,” Randy Perkins said.
The 6-foot-3 guard is eager to turn his full attention to helping Huntington Prep play another national schedule in 2013-14. That schedule includes a planned game against Prime Prep at the Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Mass.
Mudiay is currently enrolled at Prime Prep, although the NCAA has questions about the school’s academic status. If Mudiay stays at the Texas school for his senior season, it would set up a showdown between two of the best point guards in the country.
“The kid loves a challenge,” Randy Perkins said of his son. “That’s the reason he does all this stuff. There’s a lot of guys out there that protect their rankings and won’t show up and play against the big boys. He’s not afraid of that, man. He’ll look at whoever is ranked in front of him, and that’s the camp he wants to go to.”