St. Louis native Javonte Perkins has become the new rising star of the college basketball world. A simple search across social media sees Perkins’s name coming up as the newest “Breakout star” or “Rising star.”
After his clutch performance in the Billikens win over the LSU Tigers, where he had 32 points and 5 assists, helping the Bills go punch for punch against one of the best offenses in the country, he went from a ‘SLU known name’ to a ‘greater college basketball known name.’
A lot of what Javonte Perkins is doing this season has become sort of insider knowledge for Billiken faithful that they were just waiting to unleash on the larger world. The 2020 A-10 6th Man of the Year set the school record for A-10 scoring average at 19.6 last season and only got better and better as the season went on.
There was a reasonable question in the extended offseason as to if Perkins could maintain his frantic level of scoring, and more importantly, his efficacy. “I’m not going to surprise anybody anymore,” Perkins admitted in a Zoom press conference “I just need to keep playing smart and staying within myself”. Travis Ford echoed the idea emphasizing how that makes it more important for Javonte’s teammates to step up and not allow defenses to key in on Perkins.
Despite being out there in the open this season, Perkins has been as effective as ever. Through his first five games this season, in which the Bills have gone 5-0, Javonte is averaging 19.4 points per game on a 60% field goal percentage, 59% shooting from three, and just 26.6 minutes per game. Perkins has scored in bunched, at an extremely efficient rate.
But what is truly the most stunning part of the JUCO transfers game is just how deliberate and effective he is. In the opening game of the year, Javonte scored 22 points on just 12 dribbles. In his 32-point performance over LSU, only 23 dribbles. In the shortened minutes he played in the win over Arkansas Pine Bluff, he took just 8 dribbles yet scored 15 points.
@javontep with an absurd opening game. 8-11 from the field for 22 points in 20 minutes. How many dribbles did he need to record all 22? Only 12. He’s so deliberate off the catch. Knows exactly what he wants to do and where he wants to go. Mr. Efficient. Beautiful game to watch.
— M&G Analytics (@MGAnalytics1818) November 26, 2020
Javonte has been a pinnacle of being deliberate in his offensive game. He knows exactly how he can score, how to get to those scoring spots, and executing when he gets there. But the really underrated part of his game is just how much better his passing and distribution has become. It is not as if he is a ghost out there when he doesn’t have the ball or isn’t putting the ball in the hoop. Last season Javonte had season-high three assists in a game just twice. He has as many games with 3+ assists in just five games as he did with three last season and hasn’t gone a game without lodging a helper yet.
While the context of what he is asked to do has changed, so has his game. He isn’t stagnant; he isn’t a ball hog. The Billikens have effectively used the gravity he creates to help create offense from others. Yet still, he gets his own. He is like a surgeon cutting in and out with precision, not wasting a moment or an action in the meantime.
What this ultimately leads to is Javonte sort of blending in on the court. “Sometimes you think, ‘man, Javonte was really quiet that half we need to get him more looks’, and you look up and he has 14 points and leads all scorers.” A SLU staff member said after the win over Central Arkansas.
Javonte Perkins is a quiet killer on the hardwood. He’s not the loudest guy on the floor, nor the most bombastic. He has that Kawhi Leonard quality to him; he goes about his business and never draws too much attention to himself. While he has certainly opened up his personality since he arrived in Midtown, he still lets his game do the talking for him.
“That Dude”, as he has become known on social media, is vital to the Billikens’ success. In recent Billiken history, it has been rare to have a guy who can simply get you a bucket. Having a guy who is doing so without sucking up the spotlight and a team-oriented game is just another sign of how special this Billiken team is.