June 16, 2024

Trent Perry smiles so much during basketball games that photographers can’t help but focus their cameras on his face. He’s always showing his joy at competing, his passion for winning, his commitment to succeeding.

Over this past season, few guards have been better. When the game matters, when the moment reaches a fever pitch, Perry steps forward to deliver.

The 6-foot-4 senior headed to USC helped the Wolverines win a Southern Section Open Division championship and repeat as state Open Division champion this season. He scores, passes or leads depending on the time, situation and moment. He averaged 18 points, six rebounds and six assists.

The McDonald’s All-American has been selected The Times’ player of the year for the 2023-24 season.

What he did in his final three games of his high school career will be remembered for a long time. He had 42 points in a one-point regional playoff win over Carlsbad. He scored 28 points and made all 13 of his free throws in a regional final win over Eastvale Roosevelt. He made the go-ahead basket, another basket and two free throws to take down Richmond Salesian by five points in Sacramento for the state title.

“I had to give it my all,” he said.

That pretty much sums up Perry, a player who became great because of his work ethic.

He was one of the players who helped Harvard-Westlake right the ship in January after consecutive losses to Sherman Oaks Notre Dame and Sierra Canyon.

“Losing is humbling,” he said. “It honestly set us back a little bit, but we just go through adversity and refocus as a group. We always have to push forward and keep our head on straight.”

Perry’s unselfishness was important in creating opportunity for others to develop for Harvard-Westlake, from guard Robert Hinton to guard Christian Horry to forward Nikolas Khamenia. With the ball in his hands and his eyes looking up, Perry created the situations for others to contribute and that’s what top players do, lift others around them.

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