Perkins on Euroleague: ‘I’ve made it’ (Basketball)

July 3, 2010
Doron Perkins

Although he admits to sometimes dreaming of playing in the NBA, Anchorage’s Doron Perkins isn’t losing sleep over it.

He’s too busy living the star’s life in Israel.

The 27-year-old point guard plays for the country’s premier team, Maccabi Tel Aviv, in the premier league overseas, the Euroleague.

And even though he opted out of his contract after last season, the 6-foot-3 Alaskan is hoping to re-sign with a more lucrative deal.

“I want to go back to Tel Aviv,” he told me. “I’m just trying to find the right situation, the right money and everything. I know they want me and I want to be there. Sometimes it comes down to all the other stuff.”

Perkins, of Bartlett High fame, is coming off a promising season with Tel Aviv, his first in the Euroleague, in which he came off the bench to average 10 points, 5 assists and 5 rebounds per game.

It’s the first time he has not started as a pro, but it’s hardly the first time he’s had to overcome some adversity.

Coming out of high school he settled for junior college because big schools backed off after he fractured his knee before his senior season. Coming out of Santa Clara University he was labeled a two guard even though he was capable of playing the one.

“I feel like I’ve been trying to prove myself since high school,” Perkins said. “It’s been a long, long path, but I’ve been blessed to be able to play.”

His rookie year with Tel Aviv felt like a roller coaster of sorts.

It started with a bang after he played the Knicks at MSG and then dropped a triple-double on the Clippers in LA during a two-game NBA exhibition series. From there, he helped Maccabi win the Israeli National Cup, advance to the quarterfinals of the Euroleague playoffs and get all the way to the national league championship series, losing in the final game.

Still, there were nights when he barely played for one reason or another.

“It was tough, but you know, over time coach realized what I could do out there and started opening things up,” Perkins said. “It was my first year in the Euroleague and (the team) had other players that were getting paid more, so … over time I think my skills showed and everything worked out.”

Question: What do you do best, score, rebound, pass?
Answer: I pride myself on doing everything on the court. Not great at one thing but good at everything.

Q: The Euroleague is no joke, eh?
A: There are a lot of good players in it. It’s more of a team oriented league than the NBA. Every bucket really counts in that league.

Q: What’s Tel Aviv like?
A: I love Israel. I think it’s the best country besides America that I’ve been to. Everybody speaks English. The food is good. The weather is great. It’s very easy to get around. That’s one of the reasons I do want to go back because that was one place where I was really comfortable outside of basketball.

Q: And the lady situation?
A: I got a girlfriend now.

Q: Do fans recognize you guys?
A: I feel like this is the first time where the team is really followed by everybody in that country. You can’t walk about without anybody saying hi to you or trying to take your picture. It’s really a good experience over there.

Q: How much does playing time affect a bench player?
A: It’s all about being comfortable and being confident. Sometimes you’re not as confident, especially when the coach doesn’t have confidence in you, but just keeping working hard and whenever you get in the game try to help the team.

Q: What was it like facing childhood idol Trajan Langdon?
A: I remember I fouled him one time and they didn’t call it, and I got a steal from it and he was like, ‘You’re know you’re not supposed to get away with that. You’re a rookie.’ But it was fun. It was good to play against him. It was actually real good to see him play.

Q: What did it feel like being on the same court as him?
A: If you’re with him, you know that you’ve made it. It’s good to see him play. When you see him play you sort of get awestruck ‘cause I remember him from high school. I was like, ‘Man, I’m playing with this guy? I remember him from Duke.’ It made me feel like I’ve made it.

Q: Do you still dream of the NBA?
A: My dream is always to play in the NBA, but I feel like I’ve been through so much where I’ve … I sort of lost track of it. I still feel like I do want to play in the NBA, even if I get less money to play. But if it doesn’t happen I’m not going to be mad because I’ve been in a good situation overseas and I’ve made a name over there.

  Comments and Suggestions