Sophomore center becomes 2nd Matador this season to grab award
Yuma, Arizona – February 20, 2013 -- Arizona Western College is proud to announce that AWC Men’s Basketball player Carlos Perez has been named the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball Division I Player of the Week for the week ending February 16th. It’s the first time that Perez has won the award in his two-year Matador career, and he becomes the second Matador to earn the accolade this season, following the lead of teammate Tanner Clayton, who won it in late November. The announcement comes just four days after Perez helped the Matadors knock off Phoenix College, 67-56, in their regular season home finale Saturday night at ‘The House’ on the AWC campus.
As the Matadors’ first player off the bench for most of last season, Perez spent his time learning the college game and working on various post moves in helping the Matadors win their first Region I Championship since 2009. Coming into this year, knowing that he would be the main force in the paint for the Matadors, Perez worked on his hook shot, his baseline jumper and his free throw shooting. Matador fans have marveled at his progress throughout the season, and that progress resulted in high-water marks for the native of Chula Vista, California, this past week. Wednesday night against Cochise College in Douglas, Perez and his frontcourt teammate, fellow San Diego-area native Tanner Clayton, took turns in the first half hitting baseline jumpers in helping the Matadors stay within range of the high-flying Apaches at halftime. However, in the second half, Perez became the favorite inside target of Matador guards Marvin Whitt & Aaseem Dixon as they would drive, draw the defenders to them, and dish it inside. Perez would take care of the rest, pumping in 11 of his 15 points on the night after halftime, including a couple of big shots down the stretch to preserve AWC’s 66-61 victory, which put them back into a tie for first place in the conference. Three nights later, the Matadors faced another stern test at home against Phoenix College, who has already clinched the top seed in the Region I Division II Playoffs. To try to neutralize the inside work of Perez, the Bears matched him up with 6’11” center Patric Massey. Despite giving up six inches in height, Perez was undeterred, outmuscling Massey most of the night, and burying hook shots over the Bears’ center. Perez had 6 points at halftime, but like Wednesday night, he hit his stride coming out of the halftime locker room. Perez drew Massey out of the paint by moving to the corner, hitting baseline jumper after baseline jumper from each side. 14 of the Matadors’ 37 second-half points came from their center as Perez scored a career-high 20 points while pulling down 12 rebounds and blocking a pair of PC shots in the Matadors’ victory. For the week, Perez averaged 17.5 points & 5 rebounds. On the season, Perez is 2nd on the team in both rebounds (6.7 per game) and field goal percentage (48.5%) while ranking 4th in scoring (8.8 points per contest) and 5th in free throw shooting (70.6%).
Despite a very impressive 19-2 conference record, Perez and the Matadors still face a must-win situation this Friday night, February 22nd, in their regular season finale at Mesa Community College. The Matadors will take the floor tied with Central Arizona for 1st place in the conference, but with Mesa trailing both by just a game, AWC needs to win to ensure the right to host at least one game in the Region I Division I Playoffs next week. That 7:30PM matchup will be the nightcap of the ACCAC men’s-women’s basketball doubleheader this Friday, following the Lady Matadors, who will face off against defending Region I Division II Champion Mesa starting at 5:30PM. Fans that can’t make the trip to Mesa Community College (1833 West Southern Avenue in Mesa) can catch the action on the Matador Sports Network’s radio (SportsRadio 560 KBLU in Yuma) and internet audio (www.azwestern.edu/athletics & www.kbluam.com) legs beginning at 5PM Friday afternoon.