What embodies a well-rounded basketball player? Is it their dashing moves on the basketball court? Their ability to read the defense and create plays on the offense? Or could it be what they do off the court and in the classroom that makes all the difference in the intense game of life?
Mickey Perry, The former University of Dayton [UD, Flyers] basketball player, is a great example of what hard work on and off the court can bring if one applies themselves.
Perry was recently picked up by the Quebec Kebs, a professional Canadian team in the National Basketball League. The news comes just one year after Perry successfully completed his undergraduate degree in Marketing from the University of Dayton.
However impressive, Perry’s scholastic and basketball superstardom did not come easy by any stretch of the imagination.
Perry came from the hard streets of Maywood, IL, just outside of Chicago, where he grew up with his two younger siblings, mother and stepfather; however, he chose not to become a statistic and fall victim to the street life.
Perry’s road to the pros began at Proviso East, a high school that has produced NBA greats such as Boston Celtics Head Coach, Doc Rivers [played for Atlanta Hawks, Los Angeles Clippers, New York Knicks, and San Antonio Spurs] and Michael Finley of the Dallas Mavericks [also played for Phoenix Suns, San Antonio Spurs, and Boston Celtics].
During Perry’s sophomore year at Proviso East he played alongside Shannon Brown, two-time NBA champion of the Los Angeles Lakers.
As one could envision, Perry had large basketball shoes to fill hailing from such an accomplished high school; however, Mickey never detoured from his dreams of obtaining a higher education and an opportunity to pursue a professional basketball career.
Perry was afforded an opportunity to attend college right out of high school, which was a dream come true for him and his mother. Perry said, “My mother always said if you pray and work hard enough, there is nothing you can’t achieve.”
Perry attended the University of Wisconsin [Badgers] in 2005-2007, which is a Big Ten conference school. During Mickey’s 2007 basketball season as a Badger, Wisconsin was ranked #2 in the nation.
Although Wisconsin was having an outstanding 2007 season, Perry saw little action on the hardwood. Perry played only half a season of basketball his sophomore year and red shirted during his freshman year.
Mickey left the Badgers to better his basketball opportunities and transferred to the University of Dayton, where he played the point and shooting guard position.
In 2010, during Perry’s senior year at the University of Dayton, the Flyers were able to clinch the National Invitation Tournament [NIT] championship game over the North Carolina Tar Heels, finishing out their season with a 25-12 record.
Even though that was Dayton’s first NIT title in more than 40 years, Perry said his biggest victory in 2010 came a few weeks later when he received his degree from his Alma Mater. “I’m a student-athlete, not an athletic student. There is a difference,” he said.
Right after college, Perry played professional minor league basketball for the Dayton Air Strikers in the Premiere Basketball League [PBL] during the 2010 season. In Mickey’s brief time with the Strikers, he was able to become the 7th overall scorer in the league and made the All PBL 2nd Team.
Mickey mentioned that even if he had not had opportunity to advance in the professional realm of basketball that he would use his education to build a solid career in and around sports.
Perry said, “You have to have an A, B and sometimes even a C plan if things don’t exactly work out with the pro’s. If the pro’s don’t work out for me, I know I will definitely do something in the basketball arena like coach or teach at some level between high school and college. All I know is I am working hard for each and every opportunity I’ve received and if for some reason I don’t make it, I know I gave it my best shot. I am fortunate I have my education to fall back on.”
Perry’s first season with the Kebs starts in early October and in the meanwhile he is giving back through mentoring young athletes and substitute teaching in his old neighborhood in Maywood, IL.
Perry concluded by stating, “Skills and training camps will prepare you for the game of basketball, but being armed with your education will prepare you for the game of life. Take advantage of your educational opportunities to better your life and your chances of being successful on and off the court. “