In 2006, Mark Few put forth one of his best recruiting efforts to land Colorado point guard Matt Bouldin. Eight years later, Colorado is home once again to one of the top point guards in the country in Josh Perkins. The 6'3'' guard currently attends Regis Jesuit High School just outside Denver and he has quickly established himself as the top perimeter player in the state. On Friday night, I was able to head down to Regis to watch Perkins and company take on Grandview High School which was ranked 4th in the state. Led by Perkins, the Raiders of Regis dispatched the fourth-ranked team in the state by a score of 72-50. While Grandview was without a doubt the more physically imposing team, Regis did an incredible job on defense and made numerous plays on offense to completely shut down Grandview.
Attending a high school game that features one distinct star player is such a fascinating event, particularly in Colorado which is not known for producing major talent year in, year out. Every one in the stands is looking at one another and saying "There he is, that's Perkins". Typically that is followed by (and I said this) "Wow, he's huge". For being a junior guard, Perkins has the physique of someone that is ready to walk on to a division one floor right now. He's listed at 6'3'' and has to be close to 190 lbs. As a junior at that size, my mind started wandering to thoughts of Perkins being more of an off-guard or wing at the next level but the first several minutes quickly squashed those ideas - this kid will spend a lot of time in college running the point.
In the first few minutes of the game, all eyes were on Perkins as a scorer and it was clear that he was aware and wanted to force the action. Right off the bat, he came open and hit a three in rhythm. I could hear a few Grandview fans around me utter some choice words following that shot but, to be honest, after that point, Perkins struggled from the field in the first half. He has a pretty short, compact, and slightly unorthodox shooting form which is really pretty and fluid when coming off screens and running plays but as a set shot, it still needs some work.
Although it was tough to watch Perkins struggle from the field, I could not have been more impressed by how he adjusted his game to do what he needed for his team. In the second quarter, Perkins channeled Steve Nash. I counted five assists in the second quarter alone, three of which were beautiful driving dishes that his teammates were almost surprised by. What I also found interesting about Perkins is how similar he is to Matt Bouldin as a distributor. Like Bouldin, Perkins has incredible court savvy and the strength to make three-quarter court passes that set his teammates up in the perfect position.
While Bouldin's shot at this point in high school was better than Perkins' is now, there is no doubt that Perkins is far more athletic. He made a couple of phenomenally athletic plays in addition to probably pulling down 10 or 12 boards against Grandview. The first play was late in the first half as it looked like an opposing guard was on his way for a breakaway layup. Perkins caught up to him and ensued to carry out a LeBron like block where it seemed like Perkins blocked it perfectly at the apex of the shot. The second display of phenomenal athleticism was in the second half when Regis began to extend their lead. Regis got out on a break and Perkins was running free for a breakaway. In all honesty, I thought he was going up for a layup but he exploded to the rack, cradled the ball and delivered a ferociously powerful dunk.
In the end, I had Perkins at 18 points, and at or near double figures in both assists and rebounds (and a huge block and dunk). It was a phenomenal all around performance and I hope to take in a few more performances. Make no mistake, there is a good reason why Few and company are pursuing him so hard. He plays with great tempo and would be a tremendous fit as we all know that Gonzaga loves to get up and down the court in a quick manner. Whether or not the staff can lure him away from some of the top programs in the country remains to be seen. Perkins claims offers from a who's who list of schools but smart money is on Kansas, Colorado, Duke, and Gonzaga being the main players for his signature at this point.
We'll keep you posted on Perkins' recruitment as he is absolutely one to watch in 2014.