Josh Perkins Out – Mark Few’s Options


For those of you who haven’t spent the past few days completely consumed by the outrageous amount of college basketball games like I have, you’ve missed quite a bit of action.

Nov 14, 2014; Spokane, WA, USA; Gonzaga Bulldogs guard Josh Perkins (13) celebrates a three pointer against the Sacramento State Hornets during the second half at McCarthey Athletic Center. Bulldogs won 104-58. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve seen a hefty amount of upsets, some beautiful performances from the nation’s top teams, and oh, yeah, a karate kick to the head of Gonzaga’s highly touted freshman point guard, Josh Perkins. After faking a three point shot and driving toward the rim, Josh Perkins was kicked in the head by Georgia’s Kenny Gaines. If you haven’t seen this unfortunate incident yet, take a look at the video.

What’s even worse, though, is that no suspension, expulsion from the game, or even flagrant foul was called against Gaines. The refs went back to the monitor, reviewed the incident, and determined it was a basic foul that did not require any further punishment, which is laughable and infuriating all at the same time.

(And for those saying it shouldn’t have been a flagrant because it wasn’t intentional, review the NCAA’s rules. A flagrant foul does not require intention, but instead requires a foul that is “excessive.” If a kick to the head isn’t excessive, I would just LOVE to know what is.)

Earlier today, it was officially announced from ESPN and multiple other sources that Perkins is out indefinitely with a broken jaw. Though there’s no timetable for his return, it’s likely that Josh will miss at least a majority of the season. This is extremely disappointing for Gonzaga as a team, but even more so for Perkins himself; Josh was off to a wonderful start in his collegiate career, averaging 6.3 points and 4.3 assists and backing up starting point guard, Kevin Pangos. Everyone was excited to see his growth throughout the year, and his presence added another layer of depth and talent to the Zags’ backcourt. It is likely now that Josh will take a medical redshirt for the remainder of the season.

Even more, this injury will likely result in an increased role for Pangos. With no point guard coming off the bench, a lot more of the responsibility could be put back on Kevin’s shoulders. Though he’s healthy now, this possible surge in playing time and reliability could make Kevin more susceptible to injury. Josh’s time on the court served as a nice break for Pangos and reassured that he wasn’t being forced to put in any overtaxing efforts.

What’ll be most interesting to see, though, is what Mark Few decides to do in terms of replacing Josh in the backcourt. He has some options to work with:

It’s important to note that Eric McClellan, the talented transfer guard from Vanderbilt, becomes eligible for the Zags after Christmas break. This seems like it would solve the problem, right? Vanderbilt’s former leading scorer can play for the Bulldogs in about a month – he’ll add scoring and athleticism that was otherwise being provided by Josh.

Well, not so much. Throughout the next month, before McClellan can even step foot on the court in anything other than a suit and tie, Gonzaga will go up against its toughest slate of opponents, including BYU, UCLA, and Arizona. Not having Perkins or McClellan available is going to sting for the Zags, as Pangos is certainly going to need some support against such quality teams.

Enter Silas Melson, the highly touted rookie shooting guard who is redshirting his freshman season for the Bulldogs. Mark Few may choose to end Silas’ redshirt a little earlier than planned, and though he won’t provide the point guard skills that Perkins had, Melson could add some much needed depth and scoring to Gonzaga’s backcourt. Though this certainly isn’t Coach Few’s #1 option, it’s looking like it may be the most promising.

More from West Coast Convo

However, Few could absolutely keep Silas as a redshirt and make no changes to the roster whatsoever. That would undoubtedly be the easier answer, as the Bulldogs still have Kyle Dranginis and Byron Wesley in the backcourt as well. We must keep in mind, though, that while these two have provided excellent defense and rebounding for the Zags, their offensive productivity hasn’t exactly been stellar. That’s where Silas would contribute – his presence would be almost entirely on the offensive end, as he is considered to be a brilliant shooter and would provide a powerful scoring spark for the Bulldogs.

Mark Few recently announced that he and the staff were going to begin looking into what to do with Silas’ redshirt year. It’ll be interesting to see what choice they make and how it affects the remainder of the season for the Zags.

West Coast Convo offers its condolences to Josh Perkins and wishes him a speedy recovery. We look forward to seeing you back on the court.