‘Golden Child’ has NBA chops


YSU guard Kendrick Perry drives to the basket during a game at Cleveland State University earlier in the season. Photo by Dustin Livesay/The Jambar.

Kendrick Perry, combo guard for the men’s basketball team, could be the second Youngstown State University basketball player to make it to the NBA.

Perry, a junior and criminal justice major from Ococee, Fla., is ranked on the DraftExpress website as 62nd overall in the NCAA Juniors group. Perry averages 16.9 points per game and has increased his free-throw percentage from 70.6 percent to 84.8 percent this season.

If Perry is drafted, he will be the second YSU basketball player to make it to the NBA. The first, Leo Mogus, played in the NBA from 1947 to 1951.

“He is a respectful and kind kid, and is a great leader,” said Jerry Slocum, coach for the YSU men’s basketball team.

“He is a special player and person.”

Perry said he was really only nervous for his first game as a collegiate player.

“When they were announcing the starting lineup, I was jumping around and breathing heavy. Everybody was looking at me like I was nuts,” he said.

During his freshman season, Perry appeared in all 30 games, starting in 23 of those games. He averaged nine points, 3.6 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game. Perry was a three-year letter winner at Edgewater High School.

As a sophomore, Perry started all 31 games and led the team and Horizon League in scoring, with 16.8 points per game. He was named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches All-District 12 Second-Team, and was also a First-Team All-Horizon League selection. Perry led the league in scoring and steals, setting YSU’s single-season steals record with 74.

Perry’s accomplishments have earned him nicknames like “KP3.” Former YSU guard Ashen Ward took to calling Perry the “Golden Child.”

“He joked around, saying I was destined for great things, and [that] if I work hard enough, the sky is the limit,” Perry said.

Perry had a number of influences while growing up and bases his game off the traits of multiple players like Jamal Crawford of the Los Angeles Clippers, Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder, and Rajon Rondo of the Boston Celtics. But one player stuck out.

“Allen Iverson was my favorite. It’s how I got my number,” Perry said. “He did everything right, and was an amazing basketball player.”

In his free time, Perry likes to draw and write lyrics. Despite his athletic skills and obligations, Perry manages to maintain a 3.5 GPA and wants to apply for a job with the FBI.

“Kendrick is what is good about college athletics,” Slocum said. “He is a hard worker on the court and in the classroom.”