Perry gives up hoops to follow in father’s footsteps
Published: Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Updated: Friday, May 17, 2013 13:05
After playing two seasons in both football and basketball, junior Kevin Perry has decided to let basketball go and focus on getting better on the gridiron to chase his dream of playing in the NFL, just like his father Gerald did. Q: Why did you choose UTEP?
A: It was the environment, I liked the coaching staff and how they handle things, and when I came to visit I thought it was a great city and decided to come here.
Q: What was your first love, basketball or football?
A: I actually started playing football at the age of 5, in Georgia, but then in fifth grade I switched to basketball and I really focused on basketball from fifth grade all the way to college, I played football, but the school I was in was more of a basketball school and I just played so I wouldn’t have to run cross country.
Q: How challenging was it to do both sports?
A: It’s tough, it’s challenging but it’s something that I love to do, something that I’ve been doing my whole life. I never had an offseason, as far as playing sports in my entire life. I was used to do it, and it was a routine to me so it wasn’t that challenging.
Q: Why did you decide not to do basketball this season?
A: I’m just going to try to focus a little bit more on football. I feel that I have a good chance of playing professionally. Basketball helps a lot with footwork, handling, coordination and conditioning, just competing year round it helps, but I think it’s about time that I give my body a little rest and prepare myself to try to make a run to the next level.
Q: How does not playing basketball anymore help you improve in football?
A: I think not playing basketball really gives me an opportunity to rest. I think that was one of the biggest problems, when I played basketball I would have like three or four days off after the football season, and when basketball was over, I was back in football, and my body never had time to rest and recuperate after two seasons. I think it’s going to be a big help for me, being able to recuperate, come out and be fresh, because I was fatigued for a couple of years and I feel that if I’m rested I could do some amazing things.
Q: Your father played in the NFL, and your cousin Stephen Jackson is currently playing in the NBA (San Antonio Spurs), was that added pressure for you or was it more of a motivation?
A: It’s more motivation, my dad played 10 years in the league, it makes it a lot easier for me because the road is already passed. I know what to do and what not to do, and the rest is up to me to perform and get my shot in the NFL.
Q: Did basketball help you become more agile and athletic?
A: I think my skill set came from basketball, as far as being able to catch while I’m running, the footwork aspect and knowing how to use your body, use leverage and stuff like that all came from basketball.
Q: Why did you choose to be a tight end?
A: I actually didn’t choose to be a tight end, the coaches told me that I had the frame to pick up weight to about 265 pounds and I trusted them since they knew what they were doing, so I put my faith in them and switched to tight end. Before I played receiver, linebacker, defensive end, but never tight end before I got here.
Q: How different are coaches Mike Price and Tim Floyd?
A: They are very different. Coach Price, during practice, he is a more laid down kind of guy while coach Floyd is a get-after-it kind of guy, he is intense all the time; he’ll crack some jokes here and there, but after you laugh at the joke you have to get back to work. Coach Price makes it a more entertaining kind of practice and I think he has to do that because the game is such a physical game and it’s tough mentally, so he tries to take some of the edge out for you.
Q: NFL All-Pro tight ends like Tony Gonzalez, Antonio Gates and Jimmy Graham all played college basketball, do you look to them as motivation?
A: Definitely, they show that athletes able to do more than one sport, standout when they focus on one, because the whole time they were good at playing two sports, but when they focus on one they’re just amazing, and that gives me motivation and confidence that I can do it as well.
Q: Who are your favorite NFL players?
A: My favorite tight ends would be Jimmy Graham and Tony Gonzalez. Defensively, it has to be Ray Lewis all the way. Quarterback wise it’s Peyton Manning, I love Manning and my all time favorite is Michael Irvin.
Edwin Delgado may be reached at email@example.com.