Just an hour or so before the tip-off of Friday’s season-opener against JMU, Virginia freshman London Perrantes received quite the surprise.
Standing in John Paul Jones Arena were his parents, who made the trip all the way from California.
No, London and Karina Perrantes weren’t about to miss their son’s first college game.
“I didn’t know [they’d be there], so I kind of got my jitters out then,” Perrantes said. “I got little tears coming out, but other than that I wasn’t too nervous [for the game].”
Perrantes certainly didn’t look like it.
In Virginia’s 61-41 win, the Los Angeles native didn’t doing anything spectacular, he was just steady — exactly what coach Tony Bennett wants out of his floor generals.
Perrantes had an assist, two rebounds and zero turnovers in 25 minutes off the bench, mostly as a backup to starting point guard Malcolm Brogdon.
“He certainly has a natural feel for that position,” Bennett said. “He did some nice things for his first outing. He got taken advantage of a little in the post, but again showed some composure...
“I feel like he’s in that rotation. Malcolm’s starting and he’s kind of backing him up, but I play them together as well.”
How did Perrantes assess his first performance?
“I know I didn’t score [a field goal],” he said, “but getting everyone involved is something that a good point guard should do and I feel like I did well at that.”
Perrantes’ teammates liked what they saw.
“I thought he did really well,” said Virginia center Mike Tobey. “I said to him at one point on the bench, ‘You didn’t even look nervous out there.’
“He got his groove on. I was really impressed.”
For the time being, Perrantes has beaten out redshirt sophomore Teven Jones and freshman Devon Hall for the last spot in Bennett’s nine-man rotation.
“London was out three weeks with a shoulder injury, but he showed some nice things before that, some nice things after that, and in the scrimmages,” said Bennett, when asked about how Perrantes earned the job. “He doesn’t get sped up, now of course that will be tested in our next outing [against VCU on Tuesday].”
Perhaps in an effort to get his feet wet for that game, Perrantes played the second-most minutes of any Virginia player.
Perrantes, who scored his first career points on a pair of free throws in the first half, said the team learned of Bennett’s decision to redshirt Hall after the game.
“We were all shocked by it, but if that’s what they think is best for him, we know that’s good,” Perrantes said. “We’re going to tell him to keep his head up, keep working hard and he has a good future.”
While Perrantes wasn’t nervous for his debut, he had plenty of adrenaline going.
“It was definitely exciting, running out of that tunnel and being out there with the team,” he said. “It was fun to go out there and play against somebody else.”