Josh Perkins: Evaluation

Josh Perkins, who committed to Gonzaga on Saturday, is a dynamic floor general with very good vision. Here's a full breakdown of his game.

Introduction

You almost have to regret the fact that Josh Perkins didn't become a known grassroots presence until relatively late. While many of his contemporaries sported multiple offers as far back as 2010, Perkins didn't crack the scene until 2012.

Colleague Josh Gershon watched him the previous summer but first profiled the slender point guard late during his sophomore season, who at that time attended Aurora (Colo.) Regis high school.

From there, it was a gradual climb. By late summer 2012, Perkins claimed offers from Colorado, Arizona State, Wake Forest, San Diego State and others. By winter of his junior season he'd gained additional offers from Kansas, Kansas State, Florida State, Arizona, Gonzaga, Georgetown and more, with Duke and Stanford also beginning to get involved.

He continued to collect offers through the spring and then made a national splash at this past June's Pangos All-American Camp. There, he went head to head opening night against Emmanuel Mudiay and clearly held his own. That performance and a strong weekend overall elevated him into the conversation for McDonald's All-American status.

He didn't play as well at the NBPA Top 100 Camp a couple weeks later or the Reebok Breakout Classic, but his body of work during the summer — prior to suffering a shoulder injury in late July — enabled him to make his mark as an obvious high-major priority and a crowd-pleasing attraction to go along with it.

One thing nearly everyone agrees on pertaining to Perkins is that he's a guy you always remember having seen. At the Reebok Camp, for example, everyone became aware of him for the frosty hairdo alone. Colorful characters always are a welcome addition to the talent pool.

He's bringing his talents east for his senior year, having transferred to Huntington Prep to finish out his prep career.

Assets

More than anything, Perkins is a sensational passer. He makes the difficult ones look easy and can make the easy ones difficult, but his abilities in this regard are indisputable.

Because he's such a needle-threader, Perkins applies extreme pressure to defenders who must keep their heads on a constant swivel. His reputation precedes him and thus he's able to sell even some truly absurd fakes that put opponents out of position.

Not surprisingly, then, he's among the best players in the class at running the break. If he has two teammates filling a lane on either side, forget it.

Perkins also is a talented scorer. He doesn't draw as much praise for that for that ability and understandably so, but he knocks down three-pointers on the high side of screens and shoots well setting himself up off the dribble. Although not an elite penetrator, he has the ability to pull up and knock down a mid-range shot off the bounce.

Deficits

An average first step and overall footspeed loom as his greatest hurdles. Perkins doesn't consistently get into the teeth of a defense with his dribble, and thus he can become confined to the perimeter. He's also not an ultra-explosive finisher and can be bothered at the rim by shotblockers more than some of the other blue-chip guards.

Defensive issues surface from time to time as well, though with additional strength and experience his height should enable him to compensate somewhat for that deficiency.

He also has suffered from inconsistent focus. When dialed in Perkins has been outstanding, but on other occasions he has drifted in and out of the competition — or allowed the show to outpace the substance — and failed to maximize his talent. Learning to do that will enable him to shine at the collegiate and potentially professional level, and perhaps this season at loaded Huntington will provide a good model by which to improve.

Outlook

Without question, Perkins possesses the ability to operate the commands for a top program. His passing ability alone makes him a worthy floor general, and his three-point shooting range makes him more than a specialist. For that reason even his uneven summer performances don't ding him substantially in terms of projection, because he's good in one key category and stupendous in another.

That said, he must become more disciplined and focused in order to reduce the unnecessary mistakes. The advanced empirical measures everyone loves now, including a team's offensive efficiency, hinge somewhat on the point guard's ability to facilitate high percentage shots. To the extent Perkins accomplishes that goal in college, he could be merely good or much, much better than that.


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