Devon Perrin admits to having what he calls a fetish for cars.
"I love what they represent," he said. "And how they can take you places. And how you can get in them and just zone out. Oh, and the speed of them, of course."
Because Perrin is a senior in high school, he's old enough to drive. But since he's not exactly rolling in money, his wheels - a 2008 Kia Optima - are actually mom's.
"How often do I get the car? Here and there," he said, laughing. "She's pretty good about it, but she can get skimpy, too, especially if she thinks I'm doing something a little bit wrong."
Yesterday, shortly after Perrin and Samuel Fels High finished playing West Catholic in a wildly entertaining, yet lengthy, showcase basketball game at Northeast, school officials were looking to clear out the building and vamoose.
Arrangements thus were made to interview Perrin an hour later by cell phone. By that time, he was home and so was his mom, Jemona Ausby, who'd missed the classic due to work.
"When I told her about the game, she was screaming," Perrin said. "I think I'm on goooood terms as far as getting the car tonight."
Maybe Mom even offered to sell it to him for a dollar. Perrin was that good.
As Fels triumphed, 86-85, in two overtimes, the 6-3, 190-pound senior point guard hustled and bustled for 34 points, seven rebounds, four assists and six steals. The Panthers tallied 21 points in the extra sessions and Perrin posted 14, including 10 of 11 in OT No. 2.
"When we got to the OTs, my coach [Mark Heimerdinger] was telling me to go," he said. "So I went."
Beforehand, though aggressive, Perrin passed up some opportunities to avoid creating a ballhog impression. After all, he was often being shadowed in a box-and-one.
"My coach was saying to just have faith in my teammates," he said. "They came through and I'm hoping their names can be mentioned. Is it OK to give shoutouts?"
Hey, that's why we're here.
Robert Jones added 13 points, 11 rebounds and four apiece of assists and steals. His brother, Richard, the seventh man, claimed eight rebounds. Teree Johnson scored 12 points with a key trey in the first OT included. Kevin Steed, the sixth man, added nine points and seven boards. Wing guard Greg Davis, who's listed at 5-7 but might be a half-foot shorter, nailed a trio of corner treys.
And, as the third quarter ended, ninth man Walter Thompson banked home a desperation heave from almost halfcourt.
Over and over, though, most eyes were on Perrin, who had no trouble knifing his way to the basket for an assortment of regular layups or flip shots.
"I can shoot a pretty good jumper," he said. "But when you can get to the basket, it makes sense to do it. I was going strong and making sure I took care of the ball. I was calm and collected playingwise, but as you saw on some of those drives . . . I got excited and did some yelling.
"It was important to show that emotion. Fels isn't too well-known. When a Public League school beats a Catholic League school, it helps with recognition. The way to make this happen was to play with intensity, but also keep our composure. I know [West star] Aquil Younger from playing against him in AAU ball. The things I knew about him, I made sure our guys knew them. Figured it had to help."
Back in ninth grade, Perrin made a pit-stop appearance at a CL school, Ss. Neumann-Goretti. He was then living in South Philly, near 20th and Federal, but a move to Loretto Avenue, footsteps from Fels' new building (it's close to the old one), occurred shortly after that school year began and the commute proved to be too much.
On a side note, Perrin loves the new place.
"It's a whole different environment," he said. "There were too many fights in the old place. Kids running around like crazy. Everything's under control now and the kids are getting more involved in their school, which is nice to see."
With Younger (29 points, four assists, three steals) and Kiwan Murray (27 points, 8-for-8 from floor, 10 rebounds) leading the way, West scored the final seven points of regulation to force OT.
As the first OT wound down, Davis drilled a left-corner trey on a pass from Cristian Rojas to put Fels ahead by 75-73. Younger missed two free throws at 0:08 and, after grabbing the rebound, Perrin bent over and covered up with the expectation of drawing a foul. Instead, Brandon Hollomon created a jump ball and the arrow favored West.
Younger's pass for a layup to his co-star sent all on their Murray way to the second OT.
Perrin's drive broke the last tie, making it 86-84 at 0:31. On a follow, Murray was hacked at 0:11 and could only hit the first of the free throws. Rojas thereafter missed four foul shots (he got a rebound of his second brick out of a scramble), but Hollomon could only come vaguely close on a running, right-wing trey at the buzzer.
So far, Perrin has generated preliminary contact from Duquesne, Bloomsburg and West Florida. Heimerdinger, who coached two NBA players (Cuttino "Cat" Mobley, Kyle Lowry) during his long stint at Cardinal Dougherty, now hopes the word will spread about his newest gem.
Perrin, who wants to major in mechanical engineering, owns a 2.9 GPA and will tackle the SAT next month.
Way down the line, he hopes to find himself behind the wheel of at least a Mercedes-Benz CL 500.
"Well, I'd really like a Bugatti," he said. "But they cost about a billion dollars."
For some hoops stars, that's darn near chump change.