7 things from the Perry-Liberty game in Arizona
PEORIA, AZ - A packed house for a November game featuring two of Arizona’s best scholastic teams was where all the hopheads wanted to be on Tuesday night. Perry beat Liberty 93-79 and there were several takeaways from the action.
In a game that went back and forth throughout the action, Perry just had too many dudes when it all mattered.
1. Koa Peat has a trait that the great ones have. He makes everything look so easy. A big, strong and physical scorer in the paint, Peat does his work with little fanfare and simplicity. He powers his way around the cup, has good explosiveness like a modern-day tight end and finishes everything with ease.
Foul trouble handcuffed Peat in the second half but he still finished with 24 points, eight rebounds, three blocks, two assists and two steals. There isn’t another player in AIA basketball that can match up with him.
I’d love to see him against the prep school powers here in cactus land but that may just live in my dreamland.
2. And that got me thinking… Here’s a match-up that I'd love to see in 2023 - Cameron Boozer vs Koa Peat. That's a high-level pairing of two paint monsters in high school hoops. Both guys have been two of my favorites this fall/early winter nationwide. Both are inside the top five in their respective class and both are going to be the face of prep basketball for the next couple of seasons. That’s a great 1-2 punch for USA Basketball. Gimmee the gold.
3. We saw the versatility that makes Cody Williams so interesting, particularly in the second half. With Peat on the bench with foul trouble, Williams asserted himself. Playmaking, passing and well-timed anticipation on defense were key for Perry. He did his best work in the second stanza. Williams posted 24 points, seven assists, six rebounds and four steals in the win.
4. I’ve said this before and I’ll say again - I think Colorado is one of the best programs for players to develop their skill set to be effective in college but also onto the next level. For Williams, I don’t know if he could have picked a better situation. To take it a step further, I’d love to see Williams even red-shirt. I know, I know, that’s not going to happen but added strength and a year of that program’s skill development could really unlock the potential that Williams has. Pipe dream? You bet. But an added year could be a million-dollar gift.
5. Let’s talk about the long-term prospect value of Ring Nyeri. The long and lean forward is levelling up in his overall skill development and it was good to see him against players like Peat and Williams. Covering either player is a challenge. So, to get a double dose and play with fouls will certainly keep a player’s head on a swivel. Getting a nice baseline to the season in such a match-up was pretty important to see a starting point of the most important developmental year for the promising prospect. There were good things from Nyeri in this match-up. He posted 11 points, six rebounds, two blocks and hit a couple of three-pointers in the match-up. There is still work to be done and you Nyeri is still building up his confidence in these types of settings. Let’s revisit again in February and see where his game is at. It is certainly trending in a direction of good things to come.
6. Liberty will be a contender in Arizona’s biggest classification, no doubt about it. The pieces are there for a good run to the big stage. Caden Hunter is a go-to guy and the senior can knock it down from deep with confident regularity. You can trust him as a shot-maker in the clutch. The 6-foot-5 forward is one of the most productive players in Arizona this young season.
Senior guard Davis Hester was really impressive in the loss for the Lions. His speed, athleticism and craftiness to the rim opened up the offense for Liberty and gave Hunter and Brennen Neal clean looks from three throughout the match-up. Hester could be a real x-factor come post-season play.
7. Let’s wrap things up with the glue guys for Perry. Ben Egbo is one of my favorite role guys in the Southwest. He gets his place in this lineup. The 6-foot-3 senior can plug and play in a variety of ways for the Pumas. He’s an energetic and athletic forward that could be a real factor on the wing as a defender. Love the play from junior guard Barron Silsby and sophomore wing D'Andre Harrison. Silsby had some big shots and big defensive plays in the fourth and Harrison looks like a great complimentary player with Peat for the future years at Perry.