It was late November when Kendrick Perry started hearing the criticisms.
Not scoring enough. Not enough assists. Too passive. Too inconsistent.
It got so bad, the Sydney Daily Telegraph felt it needed to run a story about how the Sydney didn’t plan on cutting him despite his underwhelming play, how rough is that?
The crazy part? His professional career was seven games old… yes being an import is tough.
In his final college game Perry scored 35 points and in the process became the only player in the school’s history to finish his career with 1900 points, 500 rebounds, 490 assists and 240 steals in his career. These accomplishments however were left by the door the day he played his first game as a professional basketball player with the Kings.
“The critics or whoever — the people behind the computers — were tweeting out stuff like, ‘He could be gone, blah, blah, blah, this, that and the other,’ saying I wasn’t going to last a whole year, they should get rid of him and try to find a new point guard,” said Perry, who attended Youngstown State. “It was kind of difficult to me, but that’s part of going from a smaller setting in Youngstown to a big city and the professional basketball thing as a whole.”
Perry’s coaches stayed positive and his play improved, averaging 10.4 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 24 minutes per game for the Sydney Kings, who finished seventh in the National Basketball League with a 9-19 record.
“It was an up and down season for me,” said Perry, speaking by phone recently from his home in Orlando. “Coming from the career I had in Youngstown where I had the ball predominantly in my hands to playing with a team with really, really, really good guys, I was just trying to find that balance — when to attack, when to make plays for others. The league in general is a very talented league and I just had rookie struggles early.
“My coaches gave me the confidence and the positivity I needed and game by game, I gradually got better. I think I ended the season on a pretty good note.”
The star guard had just come off a hard working off-season working out with NBA franchises Minnesota, Orlando, Dallas, Boston, Houston, Utah and Miami prior to the NBA Draft.
“I was blessed because I played with a great group of guys and we were very close as a team, but it was an unfortunate year for us because we had a lot of injuries,” Perry said. “It seemed like we were never at full strength. But no matter how many games we dropped, everyone kept a positive attitude and kept keying on the next game.”
On March 19, 2015, Perry signed with the Iowa Energy of the Development League. He has currently played in two games where he averages 14.5 minutes and 4 points per game.