Just a little taste, a little nibble. That’s all we got of Kaden Perry this past season; 53 minutes spread out over eight games. I remember my first glimpse of him at Kraziness in the Kennel, his power in the dunk contest, blocking Drew Timme during the scrimmage then running the floor for a dunk. Raw power and athleticism, I want more.
The last picture I saw of Perry was on his Twitter. He’ was in a hospital bed recovering from back surgery. Hopefully operated on by the same guy as Karnowski. Kaden herniated a couple of discs in his back as a senior in high school and re-injured them at practice this past season. Godspeed on a full recovery.
In high school, Kaden was regarded as the second-best player in the state of Washington behind only Paolo Banchero. Ranked just outside the top fifty, Perry is favorably compared to Brandon Clarke except with a larger frame and a longer wingspan. He hit the weight room hard before entering college, adding 15 pounds to his frame, from 210 to 225 lbs.
Before the season, many thought Kaden would redshirt. Ben Gregg surpassed Oumar Ballo as the fourth big during the previous season appeared to be a lock for the position again. When the season started, not only did Kaden enter the early blow-out games before Gregg, but he also got minutes against UCLA and Duke when Gregg didn’t and this is by no means a knock against Ben.
Kaden not only brings incredible athleticism to the front count, he’s a high motor guy. He’ll mark the return of a Brandon Clarke-esque, rim-kissing, bad-assery that’ll rip the “soft” tag from anti-Gonzaga Twitter. Players were smart enough not to challenge Chet Holmgren in the paint. Like against Brandon Clarke, I think they’ll have to be taught, and will learn, not to challenge Kaden.
He only took nine shots last season, making seven, mostly dunks and high percentage shots within the charge semi-circle. Hopefully, a return to full health allows him to work on his offensive game. He missed all three of his free throw attempts last season, but practicing free throws seems like a logical place to start a player recovering from back surgery.
He’s only 19 years-old, so one would hope the prognosis for a full surgical recovery would be good. It was amazing how fast Prezemek regained weight and returned to form after his surgery. He may very well have a new face playing ahead of him in the front court this season, but here’s hoping next year is the breakout for both him and his buddy Ben Gregg. I want a Kaden Perry feast.