Perkins Makes Memphis First Option

Kendrick Perkins, one of the top prospects in the Class of 2003, made his college decision on Sunday. The 6-9 center had his choices down to Memphis, Texas A&M and Miami.

Memphis Lands Perkins

Kendrick Perkins, a standout from Beaumont (TX) Ozen and a recent ABCD All-Star, committed on Sunday to play for Memphis.

"He just felt that Memphis understood the position that he was in," coach Andre Boutte said. "They weren't trying to put a limit on his growth."

Last year, Perkins averaged 24.5 points, 14.7 rebounds and 6.1 blocks. He elected to commit to Memphis over interest from Texas A&M and Miami.

But, there's a "but" and we all know it's there. "He's in a position that he knows realistically that he could be drafted next year," Boutte said. "If it's not a situation that he's comfortable with, he'll go to college." And, now we know that college is Memphis.

Boutte is quick to point out that there is no rush to the "league" with Perkins. It's a marathon, not a sprint. "Honestly, we're really not basing what we do on the NBA. He's improved each year he's been at our school. I know there are some things we could do to rush that process, but that's not what we want to do with this kid. I don't want to Todd Marinovich this kid."

Still, kids with Perkins' size and skill level usually have a choice to make and Boutte knows this. "When you see a kid with his size and he's a talented kid and you look at kids his size going to the NBA, that's how that comes up. He's a very talented player but he's just approaching his senior year. There's a lot of room for this kid to grow."

The NBA decision won't be made for a while now. At this point, he's going to Memphis and one of the main reasons why the Tigers won out was comfort. Boutte had a relationship with Steve Roccaforte when the now Memphis assistant was recruiting one of Boutte's kids at Tulane.

"We knew Rock before we knew Coach Calipari. Initially, that had a lot to do with it."

Perkins made the ABCD All-Star game, but that wasn't the right setting to showcase his skills. Boutte is quick to point out that they didn't run any plays for Shaq in his first all-star game and he's right. "Kendrick's been brought up as a true five man. The AAU circuit doesn't give you a chance to see that. Executing in the halfcourt is where his value comes in. He's a true old school post guy. That's what makes him so appealing."

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