Look Ahead to Youngstown St

by Steve DiMiceli

It might surprise some of you to learn that I was almost as excited to hear Youngstown St would be on the OOC schedule this season as any other team save for West Virginia. The answer to why is simple, Kendrick Perry.

For those of you who don't not attend the PBC Pro - Am games, you've missed out on Perry. He's an extremely athletic guard who does just about everything you could ask a guard to do. He shoots the three well and finds open teammates. He's jumps out of the building and finishes effectively. He plays defense and runs well in transition. I can't tell you how many times I would hear someone ask a person with a roster list say "Who is number 3?" Kendrick Perry might be the most exciting player you've never heard of. By the end of this one, you'll know him well.

Perry is entering his junior year at Youngstown St and in the Horizon. Last year, he averaged 16.8 point per game, tops in the conference. He played his way to a spot on the All Conference 1st team. Interestingly enough, Duquesne faced 3 of the 5 Horizon 1st team selections last year (Ryan Broekhoff and Kevin Van Wijk, Valparaiso; Alec Brown, Wisc - GB) before facing Perry this year.

In spite of Perry's individual effort, Youngstown St only managed to finish 6th in the 10 team league with a 16-15 overall record inclduing two wins against D-II programs. None of their out of conference wins were very impressive but they did manage to defeat Valpo at home and Detroit and Cleveland St on the road. Overall, they went 6-10 on the road.

The good news for YSU is that they return their three leading scorers. Of the 5 players to average roughly 10 points a game last season,  6'6'' DuShawn Brooks, who averaged 10 points and 5 rebounds, and 11 per game scorer Ashen Ward will graduate. While none of the Penguins were head turners at the summer league besides Perry, Blake Allen represented the school well. He scored 12.3 last season and was second on the team in assists to Perry averaging 3 a game. Junior forward Damian Eargle from nearby Warren, OH was  named to the Horizon All Defensive team and averaged 7.5 rebounds to go with 11 points a game.

Youngstown St was not deep beyond there top 5 and loss of Brooks and Ward could hurt unless someone else steps up. No one scored more than 3 points off the bench last season. Guard Shawn Amiker, Jr could come in handy. He was steady for the first couple of weeks at the summer league hovering around double digits but broke out the final 3 games scoring 20 points or better in each. Size could also be a concern for Youngstown St. Eargle failed to stand out in Greentree. Reserve forwards Josh Chojnacki and Fletcher Larson didn't have much an impact either.