Over the past few weeks, we have taken a look at some recruits that Coach Matt Painter and his staff are looking at or have committed in the incoming classes. In this series we provide an overview of the player, provide a comparison to a former Purdue basketball player, where Purdue stands with the recruit, and hopefully hear from the player or one of their coaches. Let’s jump into a 2024 point guard target and the #1 rated player from Kentucky, Travis Perry
Rated 92nd in the 247 composite rating system (109th On3, 84th 247, 87th Rivals) and graded as an 85 on ESPN, Perry is the #1 player rated in the state of Kentucky in the 2024 class as a 6’2 point guard. Perry hails from Western Kentucky’s Lyon County High School and is considered a smaller school in the divisions of Kentucky’s class system but he led them to a regional title in the state tourney last season.
Perry plays for the Indy Elite AAU program that also features 2024 Purdue target Flory Bidunga and has produced a lot of talent for major programs throughout the years. For the Elite, he plays a point guard role but he appears to be capable of playing off the ball as well which would be beneficial with Braden Smith on the roster.
On the season for Lyon County, Perry has scored over 40 points multiple times and likely averages close to 30 points per game. Perry recently broke the Kentucky state three point made baskets record and looks primed to break the state’s all tone scoring record as well.
Overall, Perry is a high value and almost need to get kind of recruit for Coach Painter and the Boilermakers. A similar prospect to Braden Smith who may have a bit of a higher ceiling because he is 6’2 and can play off the ball a little bit, especially if he continues to grow. Perry is also a player you can play alongside Smith in a similar way to Jenkins Jr. has this season when you need more ball handling without the sacrifice of shooting. Perry is also an elite catch-and-shoot type shooter from behind the arc which is a big piece in Purdue’s offensive scheme and style.
Travis Perry is a high level point guard whose skills and mentality would benefit any program in the country. As a comparison I would leave to current Arizona point guard Kerr Kriisa who is originally from Estonia. Kerr was the 94th rated player overall in the 2020 class and came to Arizona from Europe where he was regarded as the #1 prospect coming out of Estonia.
Watching Kerr, you see a point guard who is an elite catch-and-shoot type player who plays well as a secondary scoring option off a capable big man or wing scoring option. That is not to say Kerr is unable to generate his own shot off the dribble into the mid-range or getting to the rim off a PNR, but his strengths lie in getting others involved in the offense through running an efficient offense, swinging the ball, and knowing that the ball will come back to him in good positions to score.
Another aspect to Kerr’s game is his ability to use angles and screens to get around his defender as he doens’t show elite lateral quickness to get by defenders in a one-on-one situation. Within the offense that Arizona runs, he is able to get plenty of opportunities in the high PNR or through the regular actions of their offense.
These attributes that Kerr shows all look very similar to the style of player that Perry could be at Purdue. Perry runs the offense and initiates with a calmness about him similar to that of current point guard Braden Smith. It just seems that when the ball is in their hands and needs to be brought up, there is little to no worries about the offense getting started in a clean manner. Perry also shows such a good feel when the ball is in his hands in the open court to find open cutters and even through the PNR (he is able to use Flory Bidunga for Indiana Elite in a similar way to how Purdue uses their bigs for Braden Smith).
Where Does Purdue Stand?
During his interview with Hammer and Rails, Perry stated that he had taken three of his allotted five junior year official visits (Purdue, Michigan, Ole Miss) and plans to take his other two in the near future. A lot of the things that he spoke about line up with what makes point guards successful at Purdue and he spoke about how Coach Painter compared him not only to Braden Smith but Fletcher Loyer as well.
Purdue seems to be in line to stay near the front and get a senior year official visit but Perry stated there is no set timetable for a decision. He could just as easily commit this spring as he could in the fall of his senior season during or after his senior visits. Purdue seems to be a real player here and seeing what Braden Smith, who is very similar to Perry, has done this season has to help the Boilers.
Travis sat down with Hammer & Rails while supporting the Lyon County Junior Varsity team during a tournament to discuss his recruitment, his junior season with Lyon County, and some other pieces about basketball.
Hammer & Rails: How is your high school season with Lyon County going? What are the expectations for you as you head into the state tourney?
Travis Perry: The season is going good. We have played 23 games and have gone 18-5 right now. We have played well so far I think. Have played a lot of good competition and gotten a lot better. Hopefully getting better for the state tourney coming up. We won our regional for the first time in 71 years and we are hoping to repeat that. We are a small Class A school with a lot of powerhouse schools in our region so we are hoping to make another run in our region tourney and then make a run in the state tourney. (It’s notable that Kentucky still plays a single class tourney with the two smaller divisions also having a state tourney). We got a chance to play in Rupp Arena last year in the state tourney so being a small school playing on that stage is pretty cool.
H&R: As a junior, have you taken any of your junior year official visits? Where have you gone and where do you plan to go?
T.P: I’ve taken three visits so far to Purdue, Ole Miss, and Michigan so far. I’ll probably take my final two visits once things kind of calms down a bit more. I haven’t decided where I want to take my final two visits but I’ve spoken to Virginia about setting up an official visit. Nothing is set in stone quite yet.
H&R: What is the plan for your recruitment moving forward? Would you like to make a decision before your senior season or will it just be a decision that you make when you feel comfortable?
T.P: I think my commitment will come naturally when it feels right to me. When it is a place that I know I want to go to and be at, I’ll just know.
H&R: Are there certain things in your recruitment that you are looking for in a program? A certain academic program that intrigues you to study? Early playing time? Etc.?
T.P: A mixture of things, really. Good basketball, good people, good coaches, great relationships with the staff. Those are going to be the coaches you are going to be around for many years so having trust that I can help the program and the program can help me is big for me. Early playing time might play a factor in it but really for me it’s about the relationships and that I am comfortable with my decision. Also knowing my parents are comfortable sending me to a home away from home is big. Just really somewhere were I feel comfortable and welcomed and where I can make a difference.
H&R: Tell us how your recruiting with Purdue has unfolded so far. What intrigues you the most about Purdue.
T.P: They have been on me for awhile and watching my games since I was on 15U. Coach Painter had me down and offered me and it kept escalating from there. Now they are contacting me all the time, calling, texting, and reaching out after almost every game. Love their coaching staff and have been there for a couple games so just really love the way they do things, the system they run, and how they operate.
Really what has intrigued me how much faith Coach Painter has in his players and how he knows that they aren’t always going to be the guys that are 5 star recruits but he trusts them to get it done on the court. That’s something that he has pitched to me because obviously I’m not a 5 star recruit or anything like that but he he has the faith to know that I’ll be able to get the things done that are needed. That is really intriguing to me.
H&R: You just took a visit to Purdue to see the Michigan State game. Was that an official or unofficial visit? What stood out to you on those visits?
T.P: The visit was an unofficial to the MSU game. My official visit was in the fall for a football game weekend. I got to be on campus a lot, got a chance to see where the guys live, see what their schedule is like during a practice day, and how they are comfortable with each other and how comfortable they are with the coaches. Coach Painter is one of the best in the business so being able to see what he does and how he coaches was great. It was great to see someone so successful and how they do it.
<On the unofficial visit> The atmosphere in Mackey was absolutely crazy every time. It’s awesome how loud it gets in there and how in to it the crowd is. There are 15,000 people standing up and cheering at the same time and the student section is insane so it’s great to see a bunch of people who love Purdue basketball there supporting the team.
H&R: Coach Painter has seemingly made you a priority in recruitment. What has he told you about how you would fit in at Purdue? Do you see a lot of similarities to what you are seeing from Braden Smith this season at point guard? Or do you see yourself as a combo guard?
T.P: He said that I would be a guy who can make the game easier on him as a coach. He praised me on my basketball IQ and in those late game situations how I can be like a coach on the floor for him since I’ve been a coach’s son and been around the game all my life.
Coach Painter has compared me to Braden Smith and seeing the faith that Coach Painter has in his players and he knows Braden is a freshman and was overlooked a lot being recruited and seeing that trust is just huge. Seeing Braden being successful and that Coach Painter has that trust in him at point guard just shows how good of a coach he is.
Coach Painter said that he thinks I can be a guy like Braden Smith and Fletcher Loyer both and he said he sees me as a mix of them. I think I can play both point guard and combo guard like Braden and Fletcher and obviously those guys have been really successful in that system.
H&R: You recently set the career 3pt shooting record for the state of Kentucky as a junior. What does that record mean to you coming from a basketball rich state like Kentucky?
T.P: It is a huge blessing and something I am very thankful for. I’ve had a lot of great teammates that have helped me get there and a lot of great coaches as well. It is a tribute to the winning basketball that we play (at Lyon) that is about more than just me getting buckets. We have good game plans where we can get victories and I’m just lucky to have the opportunities that have been given to me.
H&R: What other parts of your game are you working on to be better prepared for the college game?
T.P: The main thing I try to hone in on is controlling the game from the guard position. Going and getting a bucket when I’m needed or getting a bucket for someone else. I feel like I’m shooting the ball really well right now but just getting better in the PNR but being a guy who can control the game from start to finish I think is really important.
H&R: Do you think you’ll play in the Kentucky/Indiana Junior All Star games this summer? What would being a part of that series mean to you?
T.P: It would a great honor to get an invite to that. Hopefully because being able to play with the other great players from Kentucky and then playing against the great players from Indiana in my class would be a really great experience.
H&R: What AAU program do you play with? What do you enjoy the most about playing with them?
T.P: I play for Indiana Elite. We have a great team with Flory (Bidunga), Raleigh (Burgess), and other guys. Coach Mark does a great job letting us play but also giving us some structure to learn from our mistakes. All of the guys on the team are good guys and they are fun to be around and play with.