JuCo guard Darius Perkins commits to Utah State basketball
With signing day ahead in less than a month, Utah State has rounded up another dangerous scorer to complete its 2014 class.
Miami Dade College's Darius Perkins, a 6-foot-2 guard, has committed to the Aggies on Monday night, bringing the program another junior college player to compete for time next year after a host of graduations empties out the team's backcourt.
Once a three-star Rivals recruit and two-star Scout recruit out of high school in Florida, Perkins has worked his way throught the junior college path the last few years. The 21-year-old was eager to get his future in order after visiting Utah State on Oct. 12 when the team played Boise State.
"It felt like a lot of weight was lifted off me," he said. "Now I can just focus on my academics and getting ready for next year."
Utah State's coaching staff has told Perkins that he could be a high-level scorer and defender for the Aggies. The program is adding a host of guards in the incoming signing class: JuCo guard Chris Smith, prep guards Henry Bolton and Julion Pearre. Local star Sam Merrill is committed also, but will serve an LDS Church Mission after graduating from Bountiful.
Perkins might've been well on his way to Division I success already in his career if not for one thing: His grades.
Coming out of Chaminade-Madonna Prep, Perkins lost his qualifying status during his senior year, which put him in junior college. As a freshman at Miami Dade, he was averaging 18.8 points per game before missing the second half of the year for academic reasons.
Perkins said his struggles in the classroom have been humbling, but he's past them now.
"I wasn't focused academically, that's just basically it," he said. "I matured a lot from that experience."
One thing that caught Perkins' attention was the success of other JuCo players in the program. He had a chance to meet Spencer Butterfield and TeNale Roland on his trip, and was impressed overall by the team's tradition of bringing in impact junior college prospects.
"They bring you in to play," he said. "That's definitely one thing that stands out."
Recruited by assitant coach Tim Duryea, Perkins also said he was sold on how he fit into Utah State's style of play, on coach Stew Morrill's prestige, and on the level of competition he'll face in the Mountain West. He also said he liked Logan, calling it a town where he could stay out of trouble and focus on school and basketball.
Perkins was drawing heavy interest from Ole Miss, Louisiana Tech, Ball State and other programs at the time of his commitment.
Kyle Goonkgoon@sltrib.comTwitter: @kylegoon