There are many words that could be used to describe Darius Perry. If you were to ask him he would say simply, “smooth.” A fitting description for the 6’2” guard out of Powder Springs, Georgia, and Louisville’s newest star to be. Everything about Perry is smooth, his game, the mentality, and his overall persona. The 51st ranked player in the class of 2017 according to ESPN, Perry’s road to the NBA has just begun. Today a four-star commit, tomorrow a household name in the NBA, if he has it his way.
The relationship that Perry has formed with the game of basketball cannot be understated. Perry and basketball have become synonymous with one another; the game has evolved from simply being a sport, but a way of life. “I like to say I came out of the womb holding a basketball,”said Perry. “Basketball has played a huge role in my life. I don’t think I would be half the person I am without the sport, it has had a big impact on me and my personality.”A personality that is fully on display in his play. The ability to play relentless defense on an opposing team’s top player with a smile on his face, just one example of what he brings to the table.
Aside from his contagious personality, Perry brings a fierce competitiveness to each and every day. By choice, he recognizes that he must continue to work and perfect his craft to reach his ultimate, goal, one that goes well beyond simply being in the NBA.
“The ultimate goal is to be in the argument of the greatest player of all time, or at least in the list of people they name when they are talking about the greatest players” Perry explained. “I hope to have a big impact on the game and be able to lead and change the game on both sides of the floor.”
It should be no surprise that Perry has taken on this mindset, the son of a basketball coach, he has been surrounded by the game at all times, examining, observing, and learning. This is clearly evident in the numerous scouting reports that commend him for his ability to run the point and be the floor general whenever the moment arises. This above average ability to see the floor with elite vision and create offense for his team when called upon can very easily put him the conversation with some of the league’s best guards. In 2020, Perry, can very easily see his name mentioned in the same light as other potential top guards at the time, an influx of young talent with Damian Lillard, Lonzo Ball, and Darius Perry as the elite young talent in the NBA.
Although he is a point guard by trade, with a game far different from that of players like Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan, Perry aspires most to be like the former Lakers and Bulls greats. “Looking at them really shows the mindset and work ethic you have to approach the game with. I’m not 6’6 so of course, I can’t model my game after them but I can have the same killer instinct and work just as hard.”
As much credit as Perry gives to the NBA legends, none compare to the one coach who had the biggest impact on his career, his father. Crediting his father with treating him just like any other player on the team, not afraid to criticize and critique when needed. Simply he was doing what needed to be done to make Darius a better all-around person, on and off the court. Through all the ups and downs they may have had together it truly can not be questioned just how meaningful the bond between, coach and player, father and son, truly is for these two. It was in large part this reason that Perry’s commitment to Louisville was so decisive.
“Watching Coach Pitino, I saw a lot of my dad in him. The offensive freedom, the emphasis on defense, how hard he is on his players, pretty much everything,” Perry explained. “The exact coach I’d want to play for.”
Perry joins a Rick Pitino-coached Louisville team that is ranked 3rd in the nation in early polls according to Sports Illustrated. According to Rivals.com Perry is a part of the 7th best-recruiting class for the upcoming season, joining Malik Williams and Jordan Nwora to round out three top 100 prospects. On a team returning three starters Perry will have time to be able to learn and refine his game while being able to use his defensive expertise to cause trouble for opponents, something Pitino covets.
With a long journey to go for his dreams to become a reality, Perry is on the right track. Many players want to be great, just as many are not willing to put in the effort or maintain that mindset. Perry already has both, how good he will truly be remains to be seen. One thing that Is for sure, Perry will enjoy every minute and look “smooth” doing it.