Welcome to the 2021-22 Iowa Basketball Top 10! To review previous entries, click the links below.
#10 - The UVA Sequence
#9 - The Tony Perkins Experience
If you have paid attention to any of my comments in the last two years, you know that I LOVE Tony Perkins. I just love this guy. The reckless abandon, his ability to get to the rim which Iowa hasn’t much of from that position in decades, the overall fearlessness...he is one of my favorites. I am constantly battling with BHGP staff on who has the most investment in Perkins Island. I’m confident it’s me. It started with this play. Here you’ll see our favorite Illinois punching bag and transfer portal guy, Andre Curbelo, want absolutely nothing to do with Perkins going downhill with a full head of steam:
If you click on Mr. Ortega’s tweet, you’ll see a certain author claiming that play was like a Charles Barkley clip when he’d go on those one-man fast breaks back in the day. It’s totally crazy but it’s the first thing I thought of. I also might have been drinking).
I wanted to examine the season finale at Illinois here. And I’ll mention it. Unfortunately I didn’t have much opportunity to follow the game much on Twitter other than some profanity directed at the Illini, so I didn’t have a chance to like videos to stick in this post and I couldn’t find any clips from that game. I’m probably half-assing my Twitter search. When I took the plunge on various Perkins searches, a lot of people kept confusing him with the Ben Stiller character in Heavyweights (Tony Perkins is the basketball player, Tony Perkis is the character which, by the way, should have won Stiller an Oscar. An all-time role). So it’s all the below gif and only a handful of Perkins clips. Shoot.
Let’s look at some big plays from Mr. Perkins!
Perkins vs. Penn State
Harrar is listed at 6-9, 240 pounds. He’s not a small guy. He averaged over 10 rebounds a game, good for second in the Big Ten. Perkins is listed at 6-4, 210. And he goes right into Harrar’s chest to create room for the finish. This dude is fearless, plus a little bully ball on a bigger dude.
Classic Tony. He gets in free safety mode and gets passes like this with ease, jumping lanes and getting out for easy dunks. The guy is an explosive athlete - he attempted something truly audacious in the first Nebraska game this year, a windmill dunk that he just failed to convert, kicking it off the back iron. Explosiveness, plus he’s a showman.
The career night at Nebraska
This was probably a C+/B- game for Iowa, a game I’ve seen the Hawks lose approximately 500 times in my life. Bottom-feeder Nebraska in Lincoln (that admittedly played decent ball down the stretch after the Hoiberg vote of confidence contract restructure), Iowa is kind of meh (but still scored 88 points)...yeah I’ve seen that movie too many times to count. Here comes Tony Perkins to the rescue! His full game was on display here on his way to 20 points, 5 rebounds, and a block. Made 3s after a lengthy drought from that distance, his first made 3s of 2022? Check. Hustle plays getting offensive rebounds for put backs? Check. Buckets late in the shot clock? Check. Perkins has really perfected that mid-range floater. That was on full display here, and those buckets were always at a crucial juncture in the game.
Iowa vs. Illinois in Carver
This is back in Tony’s bench days, which are clearly over. He finishes through the contest for an and-1 over Coleman Hawkins. He clearly likes playing Illinois - he played limited minutes in the two games last year but still had 2 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists in Champaign, then 4 points, a rebound, and an assist in the Big Ten Tournament semis last year. He had just 12 minutes combined in those games a year ago. This season, he was at his best in both games - a 16-point effort in Iowa City that powered an Iowa comeback that briefly had the Hawkeyes in the lead, followed by 17 points, 12 rebounds, and 5 assists in Champaign, perhaps his best game in an Iowa uniform. And I love his mentality coming from that game - postgame, Perkins acknowledged his displeasure with missed free throws and that he took the first game in the series, a 4-point win for Illinois in which they outrebounded Iowa by 29, personally. I love that.
I’ll have more on Tony later in the spring in my player debrief series. His placement here is as much about this year as it is next year - this guy is on the verge of a huge breakout season next year, and if you want property on Perkins Island, I can give you a great rate. Him, Patrick McCaffery, and Kris Murray should form a good core for Iowa, and I expect Perkins to keep adding to his game on his way to being a double-digit scorer. There’s just too much talent here.