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2021-22 Player Preview: Kaden Perry

A back injury in the spring cast doubt on the freshman’s status going into his first season at Gonzaga, but the bouncy big man is back in action and ready to go to work.

High School Basketball: NOV 07 Pangos All-American Festival Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

A back injury is a horribly unlucky way to close out your high school basketball career, especially one that was already affected by the pandemic. For Kaden Perry, it was his reality after going down in Battle Ground High’s fifth game of a shortened and altered pandemic season in May.

The 6’9” forward told The Spokesman Review that he had a couple herniated discs, which he sustained when jumping to block a shot. The injury meant Perry would watch the remainder of his abbreviated senior season from afar, and it certainly cast his freshman campaign at Gonzaga in doubt. The severity of a herniated disc can vary, but Perry was laid up in bed and experienced difficulty with walking for some time. For an athlete of his size and athleticism, the injury could have been devastating.

However, Perry appears to have rebounded nicely from the injury as he could be seen getting in workouts all summer. And in a video posted just last week, you can see him throwing down a dunk looking no worse for the wear:

It’s encouraging to see Perry back in action and working out with the team after a potentially debilitating injury. While there is no indication from the program to date that he won’t be available at the start of the season, he and the team can afford to be patient and smart with his usage to ensure that he is at full strength and the risk of a recurring injury is minimal thanks to the depth of talent available in the frontcourt with Drew Timme, Chet Holmgren, Anton Watson, and Ben Gregg all in the fold.

It would not be surprising at all to see a cautious approach early with Perry. But even if his appearances are limited at the start of the season, he still represents an exciting piece of the puzzle. A Top 100 recruit in the 2021 class, you only need to turn on his highlight tapes to see that he plays with easy and explosive athleticism. Perry plays with a lot of bounce and a lot of power in the post which makes him a coveted rim protector and someone who relishes cleaning up the glass. If that sounds familiar, the Brandon Clarke comparisons have been out there for awhile, even coming with an endorsement from the man himself.

Like many of the bigs that Gonzaga brings into the fold, there is also great versatility to his game as he continued to expand his game as a greater perimeter shooting threat throughout the course of his preps career.

Expect that development to continue under the tutelage of the Gonzaga staff, and expect a dynamic and thrilling athlete to be a central part of Mark Few’s teams over the next few seasons.