When Anthony Perez put up 22 on South Carolina he posted a career-high, and it wasn’t just barely.
Perez’ previous career scoring best was 14 points against Mississippi Valley State earlier this season. That was right after scoring 10 at Coastal Carolina. Those two games are the only time Perez has reached double-figures for his career, which now spans 46 games over a year and a half.
His SEC scoring high had been seven points set at Missouri last year.
Scoring looks like a natural trait for a 6-foot-9 guy who plays on the perimeter and moves with the ball the way Perez does.
He appears to be pressing less than he did as a freshman when he shot 33.3 percent from the floor, 23.1 percent from 3-point range.
Through 16 games this season Perez is shooting 36.9 percent from the floor, not great, but he’s up to 35.3 percent from 3, third on the team among players with more than three attempts.
Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy says he doesn’t need Perez to focus on scoring.
“A lot of guys, especially when they’re young, they think the way to stay on the floor is to make shots. That’s not his role with this team. He made some the other night, and thank goodness he did. I thought he was much more efficient. He doesn’t need to go out and hunt shots.”
Perez doesn’t need to “hunt shots,” because Marshall Henderson and Jarvis Summers will and should.
Perez, though, needs to score within the flow of the offense. If he becomes more consistent, Henderson and Summers will have successful hunting more often.
The other part of the Perez question is this: If he’s not scoring his contributions are minimal, particularly if he’s asked to bang with other bigs at the 4. The effort is there, but he’s had five or more rebounds only three times this year. Blocked shots and steals aren’t his game.
From the day he arrived on campus he’s been aggressive with the ball. He hit some shots early at South Carolina and got on a roll.
Maybe he becomes that third scorer. Right now, Kennedy is glad to have the committee approach.
“That is truly the essence of a team. At this stage of the season and getting contributions from a number of different guys is where I’m most encouraged.”