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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Getting physical

Getting physical

The “”Shake and Bake”” attitude that drove Ricky Bobby to a successful NASCAR career might be making a comeback.

It’s Scrap and Battle, a campaign Jesse Perry quietly coined yesterday when asked why Sean Miller considers him the missing piece to last year’s Arizona men’s basketball team.

Perry, a junior college transfer from St. Louis, Mo., has earned a role off the bench as the “”high energy”” guy who can provide Miller depth and experience.

But his demeanor goes beyond fresh legs and long dreadlocks.

“”Shot goes up, we want him to be good at both ends,”” Miller said yesterday. “”Jesse knows that energy level that we really covet, he’s a big part of that.””

Perry began high school as a three-sport athlete, but quit football after two games because of his height — opponents went after his knees. In the baseball-loving — and NBA-less — city of St. Louis, Mo., Perry also played baseball, but remembers staying up late to watch Arizona basketball games on television.

“”I don’t know what I was doing up,”” Perry joked. “”But they always ran my style of play. Just for some reason it was always a school I grew up watching.””

Miller said he has recruited “”just a couple”” junior college transfers, but every season brings a new situation and need for dynamic niche players.

Perry was a situation Miller wanted: one who could crash boards, set screens and care more about the team than his personal role.

“”You could make the case that you almost want more of that type of player,”” Miller said. “”We were fortunate enough to sign that class of five (freshmen last season), so Jesse provides balance in an older player, someone who is rugged physically.””

The rugged Perry has sparked senior Jamelle Horne. Both compete for minutes on the court at the same forward position.

“”Just looking at last year’s team, they were so young, I don’t think they had a guy that could scrap and was ready to battle every time,”” Perry added. “”I was just ready to go hard and compete against everyone, no matter the size or anyone.””

Perry goes hard against Horne, who’s a little taller (6-foot-7) and more athletic. On Sunday’s win against Idaho State, Horne played 18 minutes, scored 5 points and grabbed 5 rebounds.

Perry’s a little more physical and inspiring. He played 15 minutes and scored 8 points and grabbed 5 rebounds on Sunday.

“”(Horne) never really had someone to go in there and push him everyday and he’s getting better by the day,”” Perry said. “”Really showing a lot of progress, we’ll be good at that spot.””

Miller’s three keys to the game

Arizona begins a stretch of five games in 10 days when they welcome New Mexico State to McKale Center tonight. Here are Miller’s three keys to the game:

1. Confidence: The Aggies came within three points from knocking off No. 5-seeded Michigan State in the 2010 NCAA Tournament first round.

“”When you experience postseason success, those guys expect to win,”” Miller said.

2. Troy Gillenwater: He’s a 6-foot-8 wing who’s hit 7-for-13 3-pointers this season. “”New Mexico State thrives in transition, they shoot the 3 extremely well,”” Miller said.

3. Offensive boards: “”Last year there were a number of teams that punished us when a shot went up,”” Miller said.

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