Nov. 10, 2005
Matt Doherty will inevitably have a long list of firsts as he navigates through his first season at Florida Atlantic University. None could be more important than he and his staff's first recruiting class. Three local standouts have elected to sign National Letters of Intent during the early signing period.
"This is a great day for Florida Atlantic men's basketball," said Doherty. "Not only do we have three tremendous basketball players, but these three student-athletes are also tremendous people. We look forward to seeing these young men lead our program into the future and to many victories."
Xavier Perkins, a 6-5, 220 pound senior at Saint Andrew's School, amassed several honors during his prep career and can expect his senior season to be stellar. While playing for Coach John O'Connell, the junior earned First Team All-State by Galaxy of Stars Basketball (2A), postseason Third Team All-State by the Florida Sports Writers Association. He led Saint Andrew's School to a 25-4 record and a no. 10 final ranking. Coach Doherty believes that Saint Andrew's provided Perkins with exceptional experience. "Xavier Perkins is a local talent who has proven himself against the best players in the nation. He has the ability to score the ball, make his teammates better and be a very good defensive player."
Heading into 2006, Perkins is a preseason first team all-state member (3A) by Galaxy of Stars Basketball and is ranked in the nation's top-100 by Hoop-rap.com. He is also currently ranked the 17th best player in the State ('06) by Galaxy of Stars Basketball Recruiting Service and is in the top-200 in the nation by the same publication.
"From the first day that Xavier told me he had made a decision, I was really excited for him," said high school coach John O'Connell. "It is a great decision for him. It is a good fit with Coach Doherty and Rex Walters and the new Sun Belt Conference and the ability to stay at home. It is also a program where he will have success and maybe immediate success."
Perkins will also be joined by fellow prepster Sanchez Hughley and Palm Beach Community College transfer Tavarus Harris.
Hughley, a 6-4, 200 pound guard, averaged 27.5 points per game at Lyman High School where he played for Norman Ready. The all-around player averaged 11.9 rebounds per game while he dished out an average 4.5 assists and 3.2 steals per game. Hughley also proved hard to defend and took advantage at the free-throw line 86 percent of the time as a high school junior.
"Sanchez Hughley is a proven scorer at the high school level," said Doherty. "He shoots it with range, can come off screens and take his man off the dribble. In addition he is a very underrated passer. We are very happy to have Sanchez in our basketball program."
Harris, the elder of the trio, will come to FAU with two seasons of college experience under his belt. As a college freshman, the 5-10, 170 pound guard averaged 12.3 points per game, 19.0 during conference play. He was listed among the state's top-20 guards with 5.3 assists per game and was no. 1 in the state with 2.3 steals per game. At season's end the Boynton Beach native was named first-team All-Southern Conference.
Harris gained his prep experience playing for Boynton Beach High School for Coach Brad Flagg and at Santaluces.
"Boynton Beach has turned out a good one in Tavarus," said Doherty. "He will give us some more experience, leadership and quickness at the point guard position. "With his quickness, shooting ability and feel for the game, we will be able to play the game at a fast pace both offensively and defensively."
As a senior he earned first team All-Conference honors and was an All-Area performer averaging 15 points and nine assists per game.
"Xavier and Sanchez will provide us with a great base at the wing positions for the next four years while Tavarus brings speed, leadership and experience at the point guard position. The state of Florida should be proud of these three young men and what they represent. FAU basketball has taken a great step forward because of Xavier Perkins. Sanchez Hughley and Tavarus Harris."
While the three early signees will join the squad for the 2006-2007 season, the Owls will tip-off this season Nov. 18 at Colgate and will open the home season Nov. 30 versus North Florida.