Pueblo grad Perez lands at UTEP in whirlwind

2010-08-24T00:00:00Z 2014-07-24T09:46:27Z Pueblo grad Perez lands at UTEP in whirlwindBruce Pascoe Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
August 24, 2010 12:00 am  • 

Former Pueblo High School guard Michael Perez and Texas El-Paso may have set a record for the world's fastest recruitment.

Perez committed to the Miners on Sunday, just a day after he was invited to visit UTEP. Things moved so quickly, he brought a bag of clothes with him - and ended up keeping it with him when classes started Monday.

The Miners, under new coach Tim Floyd, called Perez on Saturday, asking him if he could hurry out to El Paso on Sunday.

"We said, 'OK, we can do that,'" said Frank Perez, Mike's father. "Then, later in the day, it seemed to get more serious. It escalated to an offer and we agreed Mike would pack his things.

"It happened so fast, I said, 'I've gotta bring my wife.' "

As it turned out, the Perez family left Michael happily at the school he had eyed playing for under ex-Miners coach Tony Barbee, who reached out to Perez. But Barbee left UTEP for Auburn in March while Perez was wading into academic uncertainty.

Perez accepted a conditional offer from St. John's in July, but after he was finally cleared to play on Aug. 18, it was UTEP's Floyd who popped up suddenly.

"Mike was pretty much of the impression of, 'If we get there (to UTEP) and I like it, I'm going to stay,'" Frank Perez said. "Mike loved the place."

That impression has not changed, Michael Perez said Monday.

"I like everything about it," Michael Perez said. "There are brand new facilities, I like the players. I just feel this could be a great place."

Perez had said earlier this summer he was considering playing at a junior college or prep school before new St. John's coach Steve Lavin offered him a scholarship.

Perez took a summer school course at Pueblo to improve his eligibility prospects but, after he was cleared, Frank Perez said Lavin did not follow up.

"There wasn't enough conversation to make Mike feel like he was really wanted (at St. John's)," Frank Perez said. "But UTEP was the place he really wanted to go to in the first place. I wanted him to be in a place like Tucson."

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11/6 8:00 pm
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Washington State
11/7 12:00 am
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11/14 6:00 pm
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