- Illinois State Redbirds - November 30, 2015 - Rupp Arena - 7:00 PM EST - ESPN2
Four years since leaving and graduating from the University of Kentucky, Perry Stevenson is still trying to find out what he wants to do for the rest of his life.
He dabbled in the NBA Developmental League, he’s tried out coaching youngsters and now he’s seeing what life is like on the other side of the camera. Through it all, he doesn’t mind trying something once.
“It’s trying different things now that I’m actually done playing basketball,” Stevenson said.
Stevenson spent some time in Portugal and in the NBA D-League, but after a few months, he found out it wasn’t for him. Following his decision to come back to Lexington, Stevenson snagged a coaching job with Lexington Christian Academy where he’s currently coaching a group of sixth graders.
He said coaching the youngsters is an enjoyable, fun experience.
“They’re very energetic,” Stevenson said laughing.
Aside from coaching, Stevenson has done some media-related work with Kentucky Heartbeat (kentuckyheartbeat.com), a website dedicated to Kentucky sports.
“It’s just getting a feel for the other side of sports,” Stevenson said. “I wasn’t always a big fan of the media so we’re taking a trip down that road, seeing what it’s like.”
Through his opportunity with Kentucky Heartbeat, Stevenson has been able to get a feel for a couple different aspects of sports media.
“Coming up with some new ideas, stuff that hasn’t been done in the media,” Stevenson said. “We want fans to come and visit our site, get a laugh in of course. It’s all about personalities but also (to) give info.”
His main focus as a contributor for the site is to concentrate on the players and not just talk about the negatives, especially since he’s been there, done that.
“It’s almost like a player-first website,” Stevenson said. “We don’t want to badmouth anybody because I know what it’s like on that side. You have to watch what you say to the media and all that stuff. We want to be media but just do it a different way. Keep the players in mind first and then everything else happens.”
Even though Stevenson doesn’t plan on pursuing a career in sports media, he’s not closing any doors. On his to-do list of things to try is sports commentating.
“I wouldn’t mind it but that’s kind of nerve-wracking,” Stevenson said. “There’s only live broadcasting. If we can do a couple of tapes then sure. But I don’t think that will happen. But I think it would be fun to at least try it out.”
For now, Stevenson’s main focus is on following his coaching dreams.
“Right now it’s definitely coaching,” he said. “I want to be a coach one day. I don’t know what level yet but it’s either going to be high school or college. I don’t mind middle school because it’s fun for now but I eventually want to move up.”
Stevenson is willing to take any opportunity that he can get to follow his dream and maintain a coaching position, even if it’s out of Lexington.
“Whatever opportunity presents itself,” he said. “Even if it’s in the mountains of Idaho or somewhere. Gotta go.”
Until an opportunity arises, Stevenson is content coaching at LCA, writing for Kentucky Heart Beat, working retail at Wildcat Wearhouse and analyzing his alma mater.
“They need to make some free throws,” Stevenson said. “That’s the Cal curse. I think he knows about it but they’ll get it together sooner or later.”
Stevenson, who was known for his shot-blocking skills and warm personality during his four-year span at UK, played under three different head coaches at Kentucky. After a disappointing junior season that ended in the NIT, Stevenson played for John Calipari, who he liked playing for because of his ability to push players to another level.
Stevenson played a reserve role on the 2010 Elite Eight team and finished his Wildcat career No. 5 on UK’s all-time blocked shots leaders (he’s since been passed by Anthony Davis).
Reminiscing on his days as a Wildcat, Stevenson said can relate to the pressure that these young Cats are under to perform well.
“They got a lot to live up to,” Stevenson said. “Kentucky fans want two championships every year. You can only play for one so you can see the expectations that they have. But I think they should just let those guys play. There’s nothing more a fan can do than just go to the game, support the team and watch.”
With all his titles — basketball guru, coach, retail worker, website contributor — Stevenson is still the same old guy Kentucky fans used to adore. For the time being, Stevenson hopes to continue to try new things. Up next on his list: Maybe become a musician.
“I own a guitar. I haven’t really tried that out yet but I own one, so maybe that’ll be the next thing,” Stevenson said. “I’m not a very good singer. I’ll probably be the background guy once I get good at playing guitar. I could start a band one day when I’m like 60. That should be fun.”
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