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Double threat plays on the field and court

Sal Guerrero

Published: Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Updated: Friday, May 17, 2013 13:05

kperry

Bob Corral

Freshman forward Kevin Perry has found a spot on the basketball team after being recruited to play football by head coach Mike Price.

kperry

File Photo

Freshman tight end Kevin Perry catches a pass againt Arkansas-Pine Bluff Sept. 4 at the Sun Bowl.

Standout athletes are a dime a dozen at the collegiate ranks, but to find a player who can excel at more than one major sports, that's left to only the hardest working players. Standing at 6 feet 5 inches tall, freshman Kevin Perry has used his size to find a spot on both the football and basketball team at UTEP.

Coming out of Houston Westbury Christian High School in Opelousas, Louisiana, Perry was selected for the All-State basketball team as a forward and was all-district in football as a defensive end and wide receiver.

As a multi-sport athlete, it took a certain type of demeanor for Perry to succeed at the prep level.

"I think a lot of it has to do with growing up, being around the environment of a bunch of competitors, and that will to play and compete in anything I'm doing," Perry said. "It's having a lot of people around me that didn't accept failure and didn't accept me not trying to compete. I think that's what motivated me to be the athlete I am now."

As outstanding power forward, he was rated as the 38th best recruit in Texas by Hoop Scoop Online and was posted as the no. 97 power forward in the country by Scouts, Inc.

Perry began his career as a Miner playing football under head coach Mike Price as a tight end. He sat out during the 2009 season due to a knee injury but in the 2010 season he saw significant playing time in all 12 games.

But now with football season over, Perry has had to transition from the gridiron to the hardwood, a feat that has not been an easy one for the freshman.

"The transition, conditioning-wise, was terrible, but I was thankful I was able to do both sports, I love to play, and I didn't want to pass up the opportunity that was provided to me," Perry said. "It's something I love, so I don't mind doing it."

Price and basketball head coach Tim Floyd have agreed to allow Perry to participate in both sports, expecting a lot from him.

"I felt he could help the basketball team. I think they're impressed with his attitude and his athletic ability," Price said. "I think the kid can play basketball and football. I don't know if he's going to be an NBA player, I think he's got a better chance to be an NFL player. It's not really going to help him to play football and basketball. But he's a heck of an athlete."

As for Floyd, he does recognize Perry's athletic ability, but has his demands as well.

"I think ultimately he can help us at some point. He missed so many post games, it's been difficult to get him out here and try that stuff," Floyd said. "The disadvantage he had of not being in some preseason games—where we had a margin of error—is we could throw guys out there and get a look. But I told him to stay ready."

As of now, Perry has played in only two games this season but he has been a vital part of the team helping prepare for opponents.

"Kevin Perry is a hard worker, you can tell he has basketball skills. He comes out here and you can't see the difference between him and anybody else," senior point guard Julyan Stone said. "He helps us every day at practice. He will definitely get the playing time that is coming up."

Whether it's playing under the lights at the Sun Bowl in the fall or running up and down the court in the winter and spring at the Don Haskins Center, Perry said no matter what chance he gets to play, he's proving it everyday.

Kristopher Rivera and Sal Guerrero may be reached at prospector@utep.edu.

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