BOZICH | U of L recruit Darius Perry slams the Derby Classic off the wall
Louisville's Darius Perry, Kentucky's Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Indiana's Justin Smith and Taveion Hollingsworth of Western Kentucky excelled in the Derby Class skills competition.
NEW ALBANY, Ind. (WDRB) – The two-on-two competition at the Derby Classic Skills competition Friday night was a measuring stick that players used to show they can play with anybody.
Taveion Hollingsworth, a Western Kentucky recruit, was entitled to an I Told You So chest bump after he teamed with Chuma Okeke to win all three rounds and the two-on-two title.
The three-point shooting contest was a chance to show your inner Larry Bird. Nobody did a better job than Kentucky recruit Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. He rolled to 19 points, four more than runner-up Paul Scruggs.
Those two and Ty-Shon Alexander and Lindell Wigginton will compete in the finals Saturday night at Freedom Hall.
But nothing entertained the crowd more than the Slam Dunk competition, especially the closing flight pattern of Louisville recruit Darius Perry, a 6-foot-2 guard.
Perry was not supposed to compete against Indiana recruit Justin Smith, Savion Flagg (Texas A&M) and Abu Kajab (Oregon). Lance Thomas was selected as the U of L representative.
Thirty seconds before show time, Thomas scratched. Perry was drafted.
Without a second of preparation, Perry struggled with his first dunk, earning only 25 of 30 possible points.
Perry regrouped. Taking a suggestion from Louisville guard Donovan Mitchell (who was watching with Deng Adel), Perry threw a two-hand chest pass off the Koetter Construction sign on the wall behind the basket, snatched the caroming basketball off the floor and drilled a one-hand dunk.
Give Perry a perfect score and put him in the Derby Classic finals Saturday night. (The game will be televised live from Freedom Hall at 7 p.m. by WDRB and FS2).
“Donovan, Lance, Malik (Williams, another Louisville recruit), Deng all just kept screaming, ‘Throw it off the wall, throw it off the wall!’ “ Perry said. “I just went ahead and did it.
“I do it in the gym sometimes. I throw it off the wall and windmill it. That’s what I was trying to do the first time (and missed). The ball didn’t come off right.
“I’m just glad that I got what I got and I’m in the finals.”
So Perry truly did not have a plan – except to plan to be a spectator?
“I didn’t have any plan,” Perry said. “Lance was supposed to be in it, but he saw the first dunk and he decided it wasn’t for him.”
“Thanks, bro,” Thomas said.
Hollingsworth, Kentucky’s Mr. Basketball from Dunbar High in Lexington, did have a plan. He was determined to prove he belonged in this game. Hollingsworth said he needs to deliver again Saturday night.
“It was important but playing well tomorrow will be more important than tonight,” Hollingsworth said. “I showed people that I can do anything anybody else can. I’ve learned that I can play with anybody.”
Copyright 2017 WDRB Media. All Rights Reserved.