Perry, Penguins get shot at redemption on Tuesday
YOUNGSTOWN – Kendrick Perry’s last game was more than a week ago, losing to Wright State in the Horizon League.
The league quarterfinal matchup against the Raiders was the first for Perry since being out for four straight games.
Tuesday, the 6-foot guard and his Youngstown State men’s basketball teammates get a shot a redemption as the Penguins play in a postseason game – the first for YSU since it turned Division I in the 1981-82 season.
YSU (17-15) hosts a CollegeInsider.com first-round home game against Oakland (16-16). Tip-off is at 7:05 p.m.
“To get this opportunity to lace them up again, I’m very thankful for it,” Perry said.
Perry suffered a knee injury late in the season – including a first-round Horizon League Tournament game against Loyola.
He was day-to-day heading into the Wright State game, even YSU coach Jerry Slocum was still doubtful about his point guard’s status.
The day of the game, things changed.
“I wasn’t trying to hide anything,” Slocum said. “We did about five or six drills, but he wasn’t limping. We let him do a little bit more. The shootaround time the day of the game, he felt really good.
“When we left, he did not practice one up and down with us.”
Perry played a little bit in the first half against Wright State.
“After the first half, coach and I talked about it,” Perry said. “He asked if I had any restraints. I said I felt good about it. He decided to play it as much as he did.”
Perry, who leads the Penguins in scoring, found it difficult not playing.
“It was really tough,” Perry said. ” I’m a guy who loves playing basketball. I love watching basketball, but I love playing it even more.”
But, he didn’t take it as a setback. He saw it as a different outlook for those four games on the bench.
“Throughout those couple of games, watching my team win or watching my team lose, it was kind of tough in the sense I wanted to be out there battling with them,” Perry said. “Overall, I got a better experience from the game. You can learn a lot from when you’re not playing the game. I think I learned more throughout the process.
“I learned about other players and their tendencies. Sometimes when you’re out on the court, you can get caught up in the midst of the hype of the game. You don’t get to take the time to see how everything develops.”
Throughout next season, thoughts of his post-collegiate career will be soon answered. Google search Kendrick Perry and NBA is one of the first three entries you’ll see by his name.
“Growing up, I feel every basketball player’s dream is to get to the NBA,” Perry said. “Being so close to my dream and being thankful for it all, it’s truly a blessing. In my mind, I still have a long way to go, but knowing and seeing your hard work is paying off and getting your name out there. It’s definitely a great feeling to have.”