In last week’s two wins for the Saint Louis University Billikens – Saturday versus LaSalle and Wednesday versus VCU – first-year junior forward Javonte Perkins scored 22 points on 67% shooting while also shooting 85% from the free throw line, grabbing 4.5 rebounds, and adding one assist and steal per game to earn his second Atlantic 10 Conference Player of the Week title, adding to the Co-Player of the Week honor that he shared with Saint Joseph’s G Ryan Daly in the first week of February. Javonte is the third Billiken this year to receive the POTW award, which is a single-season record for the university – he joins teammates Hasahn French and Jordan Goodwin who both received the award in the month of November. It is worthy of noting that the injured G Gibson Jimerson also won the Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week award twice in consecutive weeks in early December, shortly before suffering a season-ending foot injury.
First time in school history the #Billikens have had three different players earn a conference Player of the Week honor in the same season. (Hasahn French, Jordan Goodwin, Javonte Perkins) https://t.co/rY4aKiTwmV
Javonte Perkins has solidified himself as the most reliable offensive option for the Billikens as he has averaged 14.3 points per game on over 42% shooting for the season and is averaging 17.8 points on 56% shooting since the beginning of conference play. His 17.8 PPG is a school record for A10 Conference Play, beating current record-holder Tommie Liddell III’s average of 17.3 during the 2006-2007 season.
Perkins entered the season with an outstanding reputation as an offensive player, a reputation he earned during his career at Southwestern Illinois College where during his two years he averaged over 23 PPG and finished 3rd overall among all division one NJCAA players. His ability to score was proven however his ability to play at the NCAA level was questioned due to his size, a factor that prevented him from playing in the NCAA straight out of high school. Perkins graduated HS at his current playing height of 6’6” but added over 50 pounds during his time at SWIC, improving from a lanky 145 to the 195 pounds that he is currently listed at.
Providing a double-digit scoring average off the bench has made Javonte a so-called “X-Factor” for the Billikens, and he doesn’t only add value on the offensive end of the court but that is undeniably where he is at his best. Teams are hard pressed to defend him because of his ability to score from virtually anywhere on the court, and the Billikens know he has what it takes to get in a groove and stay there. I recall against VCU a time in the first half when Coach Ford frantically motioned for his players to isolate themselves for Javonte to do as he pleased no sooner than he had stepped across half court and I think I speak for many fans when I say we would have approved of him shooting from that distance, too.
Look for Perkins to play a huge role in Wednesday’s matchup against the Hawks @ 8pm central time on CBS Sports Network. Last time the Billikens played Saint Joseph’s, on the road, SLU escaped with a 78-73 victory despite a game-high scoring outburst of 35 points from Ryan Daly, narrowly beating Javonte’s second game-high of 33. Coach Ford will surely have a better defensive game-plan to prevent another performance like that from Daly, and I hope to see another fast-paced offensive effort from #TeamBlue like we saw work so well last week.