Hey, London Perrantes? How many days until the 2016-2017 Virginia Basketball season starts?
With three days remaining, it’s time to look at Virginia’s lone scholarship fourth year. Somehow, although it probably feels a lot longer to the ACC foes he’s tormented, Perrantes has reached his final year of eligibility for the Hoos.
Pause for weeping. Ok, moving on.
Perrantes, who was in the same recruiting class as redshirt junior Devon Hall, crossed the country to join Tony Bennett and the Hoos on the east coast. A native of Los Angeles, Perrantes played for Crespi Carmelite in high school where he was recruited by Washington State, Arizona State, Illinois, and USC. Since stepping foot on Grounds, Perrantes has been the perfect point guard for a Tony Bennett led program. His cool head and steady hand has been an anchor for Virginia as they established themselves as a force to be reckoned with year-in-and-year-out in the ACC.
Perrantes got off to a slow start with the Cavaliers, going 2-for-21 (9.5%) from the field and 2-12 (16.7%) from three in his first six games.
“I keep saying this,” Bennett said after Virginia’s win over Liberty in Perrantes’s fifth game as a Wahoo, “...he is a better shooter he’s showing.”
Two games later, Perrantes went 3-for-3 in the game - all three pointers - and the rest is history. By the end of his first season, Perrantes averaged just shy of 30 minutes per game, shot 43.7% from three (48% if you take out the first six games), and averaged 5.5 points per game. Most impressively, Perrantes finished first in the ACC with a 4.47 assist-to-turnover-ratio in ACC games, earning him a spot on the All-ACC Freshman (first year) team.
Against Syracuse his first year, Perrantes helped the Cavaliers clinch the ACC regular season title with a 2-for-2 day from beyond the arc, including the one at the 1:26 mark here that he hit from Monticello that gave the Hoos a seven point lead with under nine minutes remaining:
Perrantes also helped Virginia win the ACC Tournament in 2014, their first since 1976.
In his second year, London’s shooting dipped a bit, going just 35.4% from the field and 31.6% from three. He averaged 6.4 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 4.6 assists per game over the course of the season, earning All-ACC Honorable Mention. Against Miami, Perrantes had a career-best 26 points on an impressive 9-for-11 (5-for-9 from three) day - not to mention his eight assists, three rebounds, one steal and one block (?) - in an 89-80 double overtime victory.
Last season, Perrantes really hit his stride. Over the course of 35 games, Perrantes averaged 33.2 minutes per game, and averaged 11 points, 4.4 assists, and three rebounds per game. From the field, Perrantes shot an ACC-leading (9th in the NCAA) 48.3% from three point land. Not. Too. Shabby.
Arguably, his biggest shot of the season came against Cal at JPJ when Perrantes’s three-pointer (AND ONE) splashed through with 10 seconds left in overtime.
While guys like Joe Harris, Akil Mitchell, Justin Anderson, and Malcolm Brogdon (rightfully) get credit for helping to bring Tony Bennett and the Wahoos into national prominence, London Perrantes is a player that deserves to be in the narrative for keeping them there. Perrantes plays with a cool, confident way about him. You will often hear Coach Bennett say “he never gets sped up”, something that - despite playing in the ever difficult and experienced ACC - has driven his success. London plays with emotion, yet remains grounded. He’s somehow a guy who can both bring down the roof of JPJ, but play with a steady hand in crunch time on the road.
“When I got here, we were trying to find a way to win, to be a top team in the conference. Once we found that way, I feel like we’ve just been reloading ever since,” Perrantes said on ACC Media Day.
And reload they have. In London’s three seasons with the Hoos, Virginia has an 89-19 (82%) overall record and a 45-9 (83%) conference record. He’s never lost more than eight games in a season. He’s helped UVA finish atop the ACC standings after the regular season twice and second once.
This season, the team is London’s. While Bennett won’t put pressure on Perrantes to force anything on the offense, expect for Perrantes to hunt his shot even more than last season. Virginia clearly lost the outside shooting of Brogdon and interior offense of Gill and Tobey, but guys like Marial Shayok, Devon Hall, Kyle Guy, Ty Jerome, Austin Nichols, Mamadi Diakite, and De’Andre Hunter all have a chance to step up and make buckets. Having the experience of Perrantes as the Cali Cool head in control makes it all seem a little easier. On top of all that, Jerome - who has been described by Bennett using the same adjectives he used on Perrantes - has a year to learn from the master.
London’s biggest weakness? He’s prone to injury. Already he’s had his nose broken by Brogdon’s forehead...
...missed a couple games for an appendectomy (all the cool kids are doing it), and re-broke his nose in preseason ball this year. One thing is for sure - this is London’s year and he’s going to make the most of it. Don’t get in his way.
Nickname: Cali Swag
Best Off-Camera Interview Moment: 2014 vs. Pitt, after Malcolm’s game winner
“Tell ‘em what you said!”
Only Player With: An emoji that perfectly represents his hair
Hidden Talent: Juggling!
Virginia tips off Friday at 7pm against UNC-Greensboro. Stay with us the rest of the week as we get ready for the season (and go back and read all of the BIG COUNTDOWN pieces!).