Greendale - Over the course of the 2012-13 season, Greendale's Jordan Perez certainly proved he could score, but what made him special in the eyes of head coach Ryan Johnsen was that he could do so many other things on the court.
The junior guard led the Panthers in scoring with 20.6 points per game, with a high of 35 points, but he also paced them in rebounding with 7.2 per contest and chipped in with two assists per outing as well as providing floor leadership.
"He made his teammates better, and he is an unselfish player," Johnsen said. "He is always going the extra mile to improve his game, and he always puts his teammates before himself. A lot of players say this, but Jordan is a kid who truly cares about winning more than about his individual accomplishments."
In fact, when asked his opinion about the season, Perez chose to look past his own gaudy statistics and focus on Greendale's 10-14 record.
"We could have finished better," he said. "It was pretty good, but I have higher standards. There were some games we could have won that we lost."
The Panthers did notch some big victories, notably a 59-58 triumph over Whitnall and a 56-52 decision over Pius XI, and Perez did his part to win both games.
He nailed the game-winning shot against the Falcons and netted two late free throws to clinch the game against the Popes, in which he totaled 25 points and 10 rebounds.
"He had a fantastic year for us," Johnsen said. "I think he was one of the most underrated players in the state."
Actually, he may have started the season out that way, but now Perez is starting to get his notice, starting with his selection to the 2012-13 NOW Newspapers All-Suburban Team.
What makes Perez so dangerous on offense is that he can score in different ways. He can hit from outside, as shown by his 34 percent shooting from 3-point range (32 of 93), but he is best when he attacks the basket, looking to make things happen.
"I have confidence going to the hoop," he said, "although I have confidence in my shot too. I was called for a lot of charges this year, though, which was kind of hard to take."
Perez has plenty of experience, as he has played competitive basketball since the second grade, when he was asked to join the AAU program by his good friend, Mitch Brault.
The two were actually on opposite sides this season, as Brault put together a fine season with Greendale's Woodland Conference rival, Whitnall.
Perez has steadily improved over the years and is looking forward to a big senior season. He is also now getting some attention from colleges such as South Dakota State, which was in this year's NCAA Tournament.
"Jordan has great speed, athleticism and scoring ability," Johnsen said, "and he has a real knack for the game."