Defense Rules for Perea and Christmas

Two of the best defensive players in the nation locked horns at the State Farm Tournament of Champions. Both Rakeem Christmas and Hanner Perea refused to back down.

Quite simply there might not be a matchup of two more long and athletic big men this season than when Hanner Perea and Rakeem Christmas did battle. Both players excel defensively using their length and athleticism, and that was on full display as each limited the other.

Seeing high quality big men going against each other has the potential to be a treat. It is even more intriguing when two players with the athleticism of Perea and Christmas are facing off. In the class of 2011 Christmas is considered the premier center while Perea might be the best athlete at the power forward position in the 2012 class.

With the two of them guarding each other the entire game, neither Perea nor Christmas was able to get much done. Perea finished with the better stat line of nine points and 10 rebounds on 4-7 shooting while Christmas finished with five points and six rebounds on 2-6 shooting.

Usually Perea is far and away the best athlete on the floor, but Christmas can basically match him in that category, and that is something that was interesting to watch all game long.

"To me it was a good experience," said Perea of matching up with an athlete like Christmas. "Playing against a guy like him, I can pick up a lot of stuff. I can see how he uses his strength, and I liked playing against him."

According to Christmas the two had met up previously, and he knew what to expect coming in.

"It was an aggressive matchup," Christmas explained. "I knew him from Adidas Nations, so there is a little bit of a rivalry there."

One thing that is never questioned with Perea is his motor. He is always playing hard, and going up against Christmas only motivated him to play harder.

"When I see somebody like me it makes me play harder," said Perea. "I want to prove that I am better."

Christmas also felt he had something to prove going against another high quality defensive player like himself.

"I just tried to go out there and get the best of him," said Christmas. "We were shoving each other around out there, so I guess that is how we both approached it."

Overall despite the slightly better numbers for Perea, he wasn't satisfied with his play.

"I feel like I could have done better," explained Perea. "I did alright, but I think I could have done better."

While neither player was able to put up great numbers, in a rugged physical battle it was impressive to see such size and athleticism going after each other all game long.

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