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Darius Perry Is Coming Back to UCF

What about C.J. Walker and Isaiah Adams?

SMU vs UCF
Darius Perry
Photo by Conor Kvatek/Collegiate Images/Getty Images

The UCF Knights Men’s Basketball program will have Darius Perry for another year. UCF and Perry made it official on Monday:

Jon Rothstein of CBS reported Thursday that Darius Perry removed his name from the NBA Draft Pool:

Perry was actually honored on Senior Knight back on March 2, along with Collin Smith and Avery Diggs:

With Perry back, UCF will have an experienced point guard to run the show in addition to Tony Johnson Jr. Remember that both Perry and Johnson were expected to run the point last year, but Johnson got injured in the layup line at halftime of the season opener and missed the rest of the season. Perry’s early-season injury issues resulted in significant difficulties for the Knights, who had to play Dre Fuller at the point at times.

Perry started only three of the first 13 games of last season, but did start the last ten. Once he became a staple in the starting five, the Knights turned around their season, and the stats on offense and defense bear this out:

UCF Team Stats: First 13 Games vs. Last 10 Games

G W L PPG Opp PPG FG% Opp FG% 3P% Opp 3P% AST Opp AST STL Opp STL BLK Opp BLK TOV
G W L PPG Opp PPG FG% Opp FG% 3P% Opp 3P% AST Opp AST STL Opp STL BLK Opp BLK TOV
First 13 Games 4 9 66.5 73.3 42.3% 45.1% 33.2% 33.0% 11.2 14.4 6.5 8.0 2.5 3.3 15.3
Last 10 Games 7 3 68.2 64.4 43.9% 40.2% 37.9% 32.4% 14.0 13.4 7.2 5.5 4.6 1.8 11.3
Stats from Sports Reference

As above shows, when Perry became a staple in the lineup, UCF”s FG%, 3FG%, assists and steals went up, while the opponents’ scoring, FG%, FTs, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks all went down. The result was UCF won seven of its last ten after a 4-9 start.

What About C.J. Walker and Isaiah Adams?

That leaves C.J. Walker and Isaiah Adams as the only outstanding quantities for next season right now.

Walker Signs with Morgan & Morgan

Walker, who declared his eligibility for the NBA Draft in April, announced on Instagram that he has signed with Orlando law firm Morgan & Morgan to “further [his] brand as well as [his] athletic career”:

While this is not any confirmation at all that Walker is returning, this happened on July 1, when the NCAA’s new name, image and likeness rules came into effect.

Walker has not yet announced his withdrawal, and he has until this coming Wednesday, July 7th, to pull back his eligibility and return to college.

Isaiah Adams’ Name Is Not on the NBA’s Early Entrant List

A funny thing happened after Isaiah Adams announced he would try his hand in the NBA Draft: His name never appeared on the NBA’s list of early declarations.

Walker and Perry were both listed.

We’re not sure why this happened, but props to Jason Beede of 247 Sports for pointing it out first:

We don’t know why Adams didn’t show up on the list, but ostensibly he will not have to withdraw his name, since he never entered it to begin with.

Expectations Are High Now for UCF

So if these indications are to be believed, UCF will have Perry, and likely Adams and Walker, all back for the 2021-22 season. It has been speculated that Walker and Adams were just testing the NBA’s waters while retaining their eligibility in order to go through the evaluation process, like Darin Green did last year, and before him, Tacko Fall. Both returned to UCF.

Rothstein followed up his report on Perry with the following:

If indeed those three are coming back — and again, Adams and Walker are still officially outstanding — along with Brandon Mahan, who has announced he’s coming back after testing the Transfer Portal, and Tony Johnson Jr., who should be healthy for this coming season, then UCF should return a very experienced and talented roster in 2021-22.

Given how strong UCF finished last season, winning seven of nine before their season-ending loss to Memphis in the American Championship (with those only two losses coming by a total of two points), it stands to reason that the Knights will be deep and talented enough to cause some serious trouble in The American this coming season.