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October 3, 2012Bartow (Fla.) forward Chris Perry verbally committed to the University of South Florida Wednesday morning and there were smiles everywhere. Perry and his family were beaming.
In Tampa, Bulls coach Stan Heath was at a morning function, but must've been smiling, too, at the prospect of what Perry will bring when he steps on the Tampa campus to begin the 2013-2014 school year.
"It's a relief," Perry said via text about ending his recruitment. "USF was one of my earliest offers and coach Heath was at every game and took trips to my school whenever he was allowed to."
And what does his family think about his decision?
"My mom is very happy, she loves USF," Perry said. "My grand mom is proud."
There's plenty to see and like about the 6-foot-8, 235-pound senior's game right now, but the consensus seems to be that Perry, ranked the No. 144 prospect in the country for the 2013 class, has just scratched the surface of his potential.
"Chris is a great kid," Bartow High School coach Terrence McGriff said. "He picked up basketball late. He didn't really start playing until the ninth grade, and most big kids develop late. But Chris had some skills to work with at a young age. He's got good hands and good feet. He's worked very hard, (and) that's a credit to him, his mother and his entire family."
As a junior, Perry averaged 14 points and 10 rebounds for Bartow. During the spring and summer on the AAU circuit, he played in a reserve role for coach Edward "Boobie" Francis on the Amar'e Stoudamire-sponsored Each 1 Teach 1 (E1T1) program until an injury to a teammate gave him an opportunity to start at the Nike Peach Jam. Perry seized that opportunity and averaged 11.5 points and 9.3 rebounds to raise his stock.
"He's going to work hard every day and he wants to learn the game and is very coachable," Francis said. "He's going to be a great teammate. I'm very fortunate to have coached a young man like Chris. I know he's going to make USF proud."
USF assistant coach Andy Hipsher handled Perry's recruitment and helped pave the way for the Bulls' fourth commitment and second Rivals Top 150 prospect in the 2013 class.
Perry selected USF over Cincinnati, Tulsa, UCF, Memphis, Miami and others.