Scouting the Hoosiers' Future: Hanner Perea

His arms are so long that I can't even fit them completely into SBNation's picture editor. That's a good thing. via www.heraldtimesonline.com

Got a chance to swing over to Covenant Christian High School last night to check out Hanner Perea and La Lumiere take on Trader’s Point Christian Academy (TP) in a rematch of last Friday’s game where Perea threw down that monster dunk posted on the site a few days prior. Overall it was a pretty entertaining game for one that finished as a double digit win for LaLu. TP is rocking two players that will be attending Northwestern next year and a third that will likely end up in the Big Ten with Northwestern as well. First, let’s discuss how Perea looked.

The kid is absolutely as good and as bad as advertised, but let’s first discuss the things that can be coached. He is an athletic monster. I have never seen an individual so athletically gifted as Perea. He comes from the Dwight Howard School of "we’re going to need a bigger basket". His ability to get off the ground is beyond impressive and the ease with which he does it would make any player jealous. He is also much longer than originally thought. His wingspan is probably close to 7’ and he’s probably right at the commonly cited 6’8" mark. He could definitely benefit from a college weight coach but he has the frame to hold it without sacrificing athleticism. The broad shoulders despite a pretty slender build suggests the ability to hold extra size is there.

From a skill standpoint he is still incredibly raw. LaLu’s coach Alan Huss has been quoted as saying his shooting is probably third best on the team right now, but I didn’t see enough to confirm that. I can tell you that LaLu does have more of a slashing game than a jump shooting game and none of the players, even in warm-ups looked to have an amazing stroke. So, Coach Huss could be accurate in his quote. The benefit of being relatively new to the sport of basketball at 18 is that he didn’t grow up with any very bad habits and because of that his form is pretty clean and fundamental. He keeps the ball high with his elbows tight to the body and repeats form well in warm-ups. He never took a jump shot in game situation though so I can’t be certain what it looks like when challenged.

His motor is fantastic and he’s a hard worker which is good. I can see why Tom Crean had to have him because he’s a deflection machine. He positions himself very well on defense and gets up the lane on guys trying to post up on him. The two Northwestern kids, Alex Olah and Milos Kostic, had pretty quiet evenings. Olah finished with 14 points but most of that came from a face up game and nothing in the post. Perea’s biggest asset as a post defender is that no one is willing to throw it there. TP had 3-4 kids that could match up to his size, but they settled for jump shooting instead of post moves.

His rebounding positioning is good but not great. A lot of his rebounds come from him being aware that the shot is up and either beating guys to the ball or out jumping them. Never did I see him pull down a rebound from a solid box out, but some of that had to do with his teammates. On one specific play he had Kostic locked down in a block out and was sitting low into him with good form but didn’t land the rebound because Raphael Davis (Purdue) swooped in and grabbed it. Still his team got the rebound and he finished with 12 on the night.

The negatives on the night were that he would disappear on offense occasionally. He started the game by scoring the first five points for La Lumiere but finished the night with only eight by my count. It doesn’t help that La Lumiere comes from the Indiana Hoosiers approach to basketball where you don’t feed the ball to your post ever. Perea spent a lot of the night with good post positioning but never getting the ball. Although I can tell Simpson feels a similar frustration as any time either one of them touched the ball on the perimeter they made it a priority to go to the other in the post. Perea’s best offensive asset so far is a strange ability to move off the ball and just lose his defender. He did a pretty good job of getting himself lost in the shuffle and open for some easy opportunities if LaLu was looking that way. He reminded me of Oladipo in that sense.

The final point on the night for Perea was the negative that he could highlight reel you at any time he felt and he knew it. Several times he fumbled or lost the ball because as the pass was on its way he was already taking the big step to elevate. He needs to relax a little more when he realizes he has an opening and take his time to execute properly. With that athleticism those big boy dunks will still be there, just take the time and make sure you secure the ball first.

Overall, Perea is a guy that you want on your team and opposing teams with salivate over the thought of having him. He’s got all the intangibles that only genetics can provide and he doesn’t have any glaringly bad habits that I saw. The biggest knock would be his patience when he has an opening and doing a better job of keeping track of his own man. Kostic and Olah had a couple easy layups last night because Perea would lose them. That needs to be fixed. Despite those minor flaws, Perea is definitely a keeper and big contributor the moment he steps on campus.

For more information on last night's game and some of the other college prospects in the game check out Travis' article at Hammer and Rails. He obviously covers the two Purdue recruits and I would say he accurately reflects their skill sets as well.

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