April 21, 2017

CARTERVILLE — If success breeds success, it’s no wonder John A. Logan College’s basketball team continues to produce All-American players.

Jalen Perry — Logan’s sophomore guard who just signed last week to play for the University of Alabama Birmingham (UAB) — is the latest Logan player to be recognized as one of the best JUCO players in the nation.

It’s the third year in a row that JALC Head Coach Kyle Smithpeters and his coaching staff have produced a second team NJCAA All-American player, players who were also picked as Great Rivers Athletic Conference Player of the Year.

Logan also went 24-7 in a year where Smithpeters lost two top players to medical issues before the season began.

But the 6’3” Perry rose to the occasion, averaging nearly 20 points per game as a guard this season, including hitting 46 percent from the three-point line and capturing the attention of basketball coaches across the nation.

“First of all, he’s an experienced guard who offensively can score and shoot the basketball,” UAB Head Coach Robert Ehsan said. “That’s the biggest thing, he can score in a variety of ways. That’s the thing we’re most excited about.”

At Logan, Smithpeters said Perry was not only a great basketball player, but a great student and ambassador for the College.

“First and foremost, he is one of the best student/athletes and ambassadors I have seen since I’ve been here,” Smithpeters said. Smithpeters has been head coach for five years and has compiled 113 wins. “He’s such a great everyday student who conducts himself so professionally on and off the court. I’ve had a number of his instructors tell me that they enjoyed having him in class.”

But what a lot of people forget now that Perry has been named an All-American is that when he first arrived at Logan, “he didn’t start out very well,” Smithpeters said.

“He was only averaging nine points per game and he was really struggling,” Smithpeters said. “We (Smithpeters and his coaching staff) just sat down with him and said, ‘look, you’ve got to work.’”

And work he did. Both on the court and in the classroom.

“To see how greatly he has improved and to think how much more he can improve in the future, is just a great, great feeling for me as a coach,” Smithpeters said. “He put in the time, he did the work and he worked hard, and it’s amazing what he’s accomplished because of that.”