CSU adds Division II three-point leader Perdue

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Cleveland State’s offseason recruiting haul officially launched on Friday when Mickayla Perdue, a transfer guard at Division II’s Glenville State, announced her commitment to the Vikings.

One thing Chris Kielsmeier and company have done extremely well, particularly during the last couple offseasons, is recruit for fit. And in their latest strike, it seems that they’ve landed another player who will work ideally within CSU’s systems.

Despite standing just 5-6, Perdue is a high-energy player who excels at running the court in transition and driving to the bucket. She’s received positive marks from scouts for her explosive first step and a soft touch around the rim. And, if the defense gets too aggressive on her, she is an 80 percent shooter from the free throw line and can make opponents pay through that route.

If that much sounds like a little bit of a hybrid between Deja Williams and Gabriella Smith, a pair of CSU guards headed out through the transfer portal, you’re probably not alone in that regard, and it’s probably not entirely a coincidence. However, neither Smith nor Williams shoot the three-pointer quite like Perdue.

Last season at GSC, Perdue led the nation in both three-pointers made and three-pointers attempted, knocking down 110 of her 287 triples for a 38.3 percent rate. For comparison, Division I’s leader in both categories, Iowa’s Caitlin Clark – the consensus national player of the year – went 140 for 360 (38.9 percent). Cleveland State’s resident markswoman, Destiny Leo, was 90 for 233 (38.6 percent). Perdue fired home at least one three in every game, and was more likely to hit five of them (seven times) than she was to settle for one (six times).

Thanks largely to those roughly nine points per game from behind the arc, Perdue scored 17.7 in total for a Pioneers team that went 33-3 overall and was rarely seriously challenged on the way to the Mountain East Conference regular season and tournament titles. For her part, the Springfield, OH native had 15 games of 20 or more points during the season, including two of 30 or more. One of those came on March 11th, when she poured in 30 thanks largely to a 7-for-13 effort from three in an NCAA Tournament second-round blowout of Shippensburg. Glenville State ultimately advanced to the national semifinals before dropping a nine-point decision to eventual national champion Ashland (the Eagles only played seven single-digit games during their 37-0 season, so there’s certainly no shame in that result).

Other notable stat lines include a second seven-triple game at Davis & Elkins on January 11th, 30 points on 11-for-16 shooting against West Liberty on February 8th, and the aforementioned NCAA semifinal game, when she shot 8-for-15 against the definitive best team in DII. Perdue scored 17 points and added nine rebounds in her last game in the Cleveland area, at Notre Dame College – then coached by former Viking Imani Gordon – on November 30th.

Perdue was initially recruited to Toledo over a bevy of other offers, including Cleveland State just prior to Kielsmeier’s second season in town. She also held a Villanova offer, though most of her interest came from the Horizon League (Youngstown State, Wright State, Oakland) and the MAC (Akron, Eastern Michigan, Ohio).

Her eventual signing with the Rockets is notable not only for the Rockets’ status as a long-time mid-major power, but also Kielsmeier’s friendship with UT head coach Tricia Cullop, an obvious source for a quick character reference.

Though she was at Toledo for both the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons, Perdue never got on the floor much, totaling just 48 minutes across nine games as a true freshman before a redshirt year. She acquitted herself well when getting extended looks however, including an 11-point effort at Ohio and her first career three-pointer against Detroit Mercy in the two contests where she was on the floor for more than ten minutes.

All of that sounds pretty good, but there is a bit of a complication related to Perdue’s eligibility. While the NCAA dropped the traditional year-in-residence requirement for women’s basketball transfers in 2021 – essentially creating the transfer portal rush as it exists today – that one-time transfer exemption, as the name implies, only applies to a student-athlete’s first transfer between four-year institutions. Perdue is now on her second such move, and while a waiver process exists (and is presumably being utilized) that would allow her to play for the Vikings immediately, there is also a possibility that she will have to sit out until the 2024-25 season.

That situation is buffered, at least somewhat, by Perdue being a member of the last class receiving the NCAA’s “COVID year,” the extra eligibility awarded to student-athletes who participated during the 2020-21 season. As things stand right now, she has three years left in the bank.

Perdue played at Springfield High School, and ended her career as the Wildcats’ all-time leading scorer (1,482 points) and three-point shooter (165 made triples). She was a three-time all-district selection, and an all-state honorable mention as a sophomore and a junior before cracking the second team as a senior in 2019-20 – right underneath first-teamer Leo.

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