Marietta (Ga.) point guard Darius Perry and his family were headed to Florida late last November and the Emerald Coast Classic was being played nearby. Iowa State, one of the schools most interested in Perry, was playing there, so they figured they might as well go.
That weekend showing provided the Top-100 2017 prospect a closer look at the Cyclones, who have continued to prioritize him since.
“I really enjoyed the way [Monte Morris] played. He doesn’t turn the ball over and that’s a really big thing that’s really emphasized on me,” Perry said. “I like how as a team they get up and down, on defense they’re always alert and it’s like everybody is on a string so [when] one person moves the whole defense moves and rotates perfectly. They’re a really good team and I enjoy the way they play a lot and how they use Monte and how he takes advantage of all the opportunities.”
The point guard position has proven to be Iowa State’s primary focus in the 2017 class and will be the most integral to continuing life after Morris. While the Cyclones have identified multiple point guard prospects, Perry is a priority.
The 6-foot-2 Perry, who is the No. 89 overall player and the No. 19 point guard in the 2017 class, holds offers from the likes of Iowa State, Alabama, Florida State, Texas A&M and a host of other major programs. He says Iowa State, Wake Forest, Texas A&M, Seton Hall and NC State are showing the most interest.
“It does seem like I’m a priority. We talk frequently,” Perry said of Iowa State. “Coach [Steve] Prohm hit me up the other day, I just talked to Coach [William] Small. I think they make it a priority to talk to me at least twice a week. It’s really good. I think I have a really good relationship with both of the coaches and they do emphasize a lot of the things they want me to do when I get there, which is I could be ready to play as soon as I get there and things like that.”
Prohm has often been referred to as a ‘point guard’s’ coach having helped Murray State guards Isaiah Canaan and Cameron Payne to the NBA. Morris will likely become more aggressive in 2016-17 in his second season under Prohm and could soon join that list.
Like many programs who have had success placing players in the NBA, that point guard message has been shared with Perry.
“I think every college that had an NBA point guard or NBA player come out of their program wants to develop the up-and-comer that they think can evolve into that player they want to develop,” Perry said. “They do emphasize that to me a lot that that’s what they’re trying to get me to do.”
Perry, who shares some similarities with Morris in terms of basketball IQ and playing style (facilitator vs. scorer), still has a ways to go in his recruitment and is focused on sorting through the most interested schools.
The soon-to-be senior will likely take trips later this year, but is currently preparing for the spring evaluation cycle. Iowa State will have both Prohm and Small in Dallas to watch him this weekend, and for now the Cyclones are among the schools sticking out.
“I can tell that they really want me really bad and that’s always a good feeling,” Perry said. “I do enjoy the way they play and the way their point guard plays and how they get up and down. The coaching staff, I have a good relationship with them.”
Scouting Report: Perry on Perry
“I think I’m a pass-first point guard, but I can also score the ball really well too. What sticks out about me is my ability to shoot and my IQ, because a lot of the guards, they may be able to dribble really well or get into the paint maybe, but the fact that they can’t shoot really hurts them sometimes because if you can’t shoot they don’t have to play you as hard and when they don’t have to play you as hard it makes it hard for your offense to be run.
“Another thing I think sticks out about me is I play both ends of the floor. I really pride myself on that. I don’t want the person I’m guarding to score any points the whole game. That’s not realistic. Of course nobody is going to be able to guard somebody a whole [32 minutes] and they don’t score a point the whole game, but that’s always my goal going into the game. If coach tells me don’t let them touch the ball, they don’t touch the ball the whole game and things like that. I think that separates me a lot.”