College basketball notebook: BU assistant coach Jack Perri embraces new job after firing at LIU

Monday, 04 December 2017, 03:30:11 PM. Even though LIU Brooklyn had some success under his watch, Jack Perri knew he needed some more as he led the Blackbirds into his fifth season in the fall of 2016, which was the final year of his contract.He did, but for whatever reason it still wasn’t good enough.After seven seasons as an assistant at LIU, Perri took the reins as head coach in 2012 and immediately led the Blackbirds to the NCAA

Even though LIU Brooklyn had some success under his watch, Jack Perri knew he needed some more as he led the Blackbirds into his fifth season in the fall of 2016, which was the final year of his contract.

He did, but for whatever reason it still wasn’t good enough.

After seven seasons as an assistant at LIU, Perri took the reins as head coach in 2012 and immediately led the Blackbirds to the NCAA tournament. He had to rebuild after that season, and eventually brought LIU back to the top of the Northeast Conference.

But after posting 20 wins last season, finishing second in the NEC and losing in the conference tournament on a miraculous shot, LIU made a move that surprised many: the school fired Perri.

“That was a difficult time,” Perri said. “Obviously there was frustration because we had a very successful year, you felt like you were doing right by the kids, you were doing it the right way and also having some success, there didn’t seem to be a real clear-cut reason on why they did what they did.”

Ultimately, though, it was out of his hands. So while LIU went out and got its new man, former UMass coach Derek Kellogg, Perri grappled with the decision and tried to move on.

There weren’t any head-coaching opportunities, however. But up north, Boston University coach Joe Jones caught wind of Perri’s situation. He had an assistant coach position after Shaun Morris left for Quinnipiac, and Perri, who he had developed a friendship with over the years, was on his radar.

The two sat down and talked at the Final Four in Arizona and Jones eventually made it official and hired him to the staff.

“It just made sense,” Jones said. “He was the right guy for the job.”

Like many others, Jones was caught off guard by LIU’s decision to fire Perri.

“I was very surprised about that because he’s also a great dude, and he cares about the kids,” Jones said. “Here’s a guy that won two championships as an assistant and then won a championship as a head coach, and then just came in second place. What are we talking about?”

For Perri, BU was a great fit. He played at Bentley in the 1990s before he became an assistant with the Falcons. His wife, Julie, is also from West Roxbury, so it allowed her to move back home.

Jones said Perri has immersed himself right away with the Terriers, and they’re fortunate to have him.

“He’s been awesome,” Jones said. “Great energy, smart, terrific coach, really cares about the kids. He’s perfect for BU. He fits who we are. He was a great, great pickup for us.”

Perri said he wants to be a head coach again someday, but he’s not focused on that right now. For now, although the last year has been chaotic for he and his family, he’s happy where he’s at.

“In the end, this is a great opportunity and everything happens for a reason,” Perri said. “I’m not looking back, I’m excited about this opportunity. It’s been awesome.”

Slow out of gates

Harvard, the preseason Ivy League favorite, is off to a rocky start, but it’s hopeful that a promising performance against No. 7 Kentucky can help get them going.

After a blowout loss to Northeastern, the Crimson (3-6) responded well Saturday and hung with the Wildcats in a 79-70 defeat. Maybe the most promising sign was the performance of Seth Towns, who bounced back from a brief slump to score 25 points.

“I was pleased with how Seth came off the bench for us and gave us a shot in the arm,” Harvard coach Tommy Amaker said after the loss. “I’m hopeful that we can use portions of this game to get our team to become a better basketball team. We’re certainly still searching for that rhythm.”

Key Eagle could miss Duke

Boston College faces a tall order when it welcomes No. 1 Duke to Conte Forum this Saturday. Without Deontae Hawkins, the challenge becomes exponentially harder.

It is not known when Hawkins, who left last Wednesday’s loss to Nebraska with a leg injury and then missed Saturday’s win at Hartford, will return to the lineup. The graduate transfer forward has been a vital cog in BC’s frontcourt as he leads the team with 9.1 rebounds per game.

If Hawkins can’t go, the Eagles (6-3) will turn to freshman forward Steffon Mitchell against the Blue Devils’ talented big man tandem of Marvin Bagley and Wendell Carter, who are both projected to be NBA lottery picks.

Barea’s good cause

J.J. Barea will be back at Northeastern for a good cause. With his Dallas Mavericks in town to face the Celtics on Wednesday, the former Huskies point guard will help his alma mater put on a Puerto Rico hurricane relief fundraiser tomorrow called “Paws for Puerto Rico” as NU hosts Bucknell.

Barea, Northeastern’s second all-time leading scorer, is the only native Puerto Rican in the NBA, and he’s helped raise more than $500,000 in fundraising since the Category 4 storm hit in the fall.

...Read more
Share this

    You might also like