Temple men’s basketball forward prides himself on being versatile

In the midst of a scoring slump, De’Vondre Perry is prioritizing contributing in other ways.

Sophomore forward De’Vondre Perry shoots a free throw during Temple’s 85-76 win against Memphis on Thursday at the Liacouras Center. | COLLEEN CLAGGETT / THE TEMPLE NEWS

De’Vondre Perry believes judging him by his current stats would not do him justice. 

The Temple University sophomore forward has started all 20 games this season. Despite the increased role, Perry has seen only a slight uptick in production from his freshman year. This season, Perry is averaging 1.9 more points, 0.8 more assists and 1.4 more rebounds per game than last year. 

But Perry isn’t worried about scoring more or forcing shots because the Owls (15-5, 5-2 American Athletic Conference) have three strong guards — senior Shizz Alston Jr., junior Quinton Rose and sophomore Nate Pierre-Louis — who average at least 14 points per game. 

Instead, Perry is focused on executing his role as Temple’s “glue guy,” he said.

Perry prides himself in being a versatile player. He can guard every position, bring the ball up the court like a point guard and sometimes play center for the Owls despite his forward-like build at 6 feet, 7 inches tall. 

“I could easily be a top scorer on this team, but I prioritize finding ways to win,” Perry said after Thursday’s 85-76 win against Memphis. “I just keep getting better and better every game, but I pride myself in doing whatever it takes for this team to win.”

Perry had been in an offensive slump before Thursday’s game, but made all three of his shots and scored 10 points against Memphis. 

In the previous seven games, Perry combined for 15 points on 5-of-18 shooting. In Sunday’s 72-68 loss to Cincinnati, he shot 0-for-2 and didn’t score in 16 minutes.

When he struggles to find his offensive game, like as of late, Perry looks to better his defensive play, he said.

“I’m looking forward over the season to commit on defense making us a better team on defense,” Perry said. “Offense will come off of defense, whether it be out in transition or gaining us more possessions.”

Thursday’s game was a prime example of Perry turning defense into offense. In the midst of a 9-0 Temple run early in the first half, Perry recorded a steal, an assist in transition and made a 3-pointer to help the Owls extend their lead to 10 points just five minutes, 24 seconds into the game. He tallied three assists and matching a season-high four steals in the win against Memphis. 

In the Owls’ game against the University of Detroit Mercy on Nov. 9, Perry grabbed four steals and scored four points off turnovers. He finished with six points, six assists and five defensive rebounds.

In addition to his defensive contributions against Memphis, Perry stepped in at center because sophomore forward J.P Moorman II was ejected in the first half for a flagrant foul. In the second half, both sophomore forward Justyn Hamilton and senior center Ernest Aflakpui fouled out. 

As a result, Perry played center for the Owls in the last 2:46 to help secure the win. 

“Anytime you need something, [Perry is] there,” Pierre-Louis said. “That shows how tough of a team we are, ‘next guy up’ type team. When one of our brothers is down, one of our other brothers is gonna step up and shine.”

As Perry continues to develop, coach Fran Dunphy would like Perry to grab more rebounds. He hauled in just two on Thursday and none on Sunday.

But overall, Dunphy is pleased with the versatility Perry brings to the team.

“He’s improving even more on the defensive end,” Dunphy said. “We could use his aggressiveness.” 

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