We now take a look at forward Jesse Perry, who surprised some with his success last season. Perry averaged 6.7 points and 4.4 rebounds per game last year and may be asked for a bigger role in the upcoming season.
1. Will the added weight help?
Perry ended last season at a 205-pound playing weight and it became apparent at times during the NCAA tournament that he needed to be bigger. As soon as the season ended, Perry went to work in order to gain weight and now he will likely enter this upcoming season at about 220 pounds. The question now becomes whether or not that added weight will help him become stronger in the post and a better rebounder.
With Derrick Williams gone, Perry will likely have to step up in the paint, as Williams was good for nearly nine rebounds per game. Arizona added some size, but with the question of whether or not freshmen can be effective, Perry must prove that he can be consistent from the start. There were not any games in which Perry outright had the most rebounds in a game and the hope is that the extra weight will help change that and make Perry a bit stronger in the paint.
2. Can he hold off the freshmen?
Perry had what many would call a successful season, but now he has more players to push him. Williams was always going to play and Perry was always going to beat out the players behind him, but now there is a bit more of a challenge.
While Sidiki Johnson is more of a center, he still has some ability to play at the four sometimes and there is a possibility that Miller decides to go big in other positions and mix and match as well. In addition, Angelo Chol has been very impressive in workouts and could surprise and play a bit earlier than originally anticipated.
Perry is going to be pushed from the start and already has been in workouts. The question is if he is good enough to hold these players off and how he will handle being pushed for playing time in every practice and game. It is one of the more exciting position battles that Arizona has going and one that Perry is going to need to take the initiative in if he wants to play.
3. What will his minutes look like?
There were not many players on Arizona last season that had more inconsistent minutes than Perry. Perry's highest minute total was in a win against Stanford in which he played 29 minutes and was able to score 12 points and grab five rebounds. However, he also had 11 games in which he played for 15 minutes or less.
Like we mentioned in the previous question, Perry is going to be pushed much more than he was last year and it remains to be seen if that will affect his minutes. The assumption here is that they won't change much in the sense that Perry will play more when he is doing well and less when he is struggling.
In fact, you can make an argument that his leash may be a bit shorter now that Arizona has a few more options at its disposal. When Perry plays within himself, his minutes will come, as evidenced by a 23-minute performance against Cal in which he likely would have played more if he had not fouled out. In the earlier meeting, Perry only made one of six shots and played 11 minutes because of it.
If we had to put a number on Perry's minutes, we would go with 23 or so, as we will give him a little increase from last season, but also keep in mind that he will be pushed for playing time.
4. Can Perry be more consistent?
Throughout last season, Perry battled consistency issues as he struggled to have a consistent minutes total that often resulted in varying numbers. Perry had 13 games in which he scored five points or less, but also had eight games in which he scored double digits.
Arizona would not mind something in between that and it would be beneficial to know what Arizona is going to get out of Perry, rather than it be a complete guessing game up until the game starts. Perry is a player that has the tools to be consistent, but has yet to show that he knows how to use those same tools.
He will be given every opportunity to be consistent and that consistency will likely go a long way in determining what kind of season Perry will have, especially if the players surrounding him are remaining a bit more consistent in their own right.
5. Is he a leader?
Perry has experience and has played in just as many big games as the others to be able to command respect of his teammates, That does not guarantee that Perry wants to be a leader or even has what it takes, rather that he is likely in a position to do so should he choose.
We probably won't know whether or not Perry is a leader until the season starts and, if he is, whether it not it is more of a leader vocally or through his play. Still, it will be curious to see what kind of role Perry chooses to take on.