Not many Louisville recruits have been hyped up like Wayne Blackshear was when coming out of high school. Named Chicago’s top player in 2011 (same year as Chicago native Anthony Davis) and a McDonald’s All American, Louisville fans had high expectations for Blackshear during his freshman year. Unfortunately Blackshear suffered not one but two severe shoulder injuries over the spring and summer that would keep him on the bench for most of the 2011-2012 season . Blackshear made his collegiate debut against West Virginia in February and showed some glimpses of a great player. He also played significant minutes in the Final Four game against Kentucky, and this was where Louisville fans saw the Wayne Blackshear that were expecting before he got injured.
On Monday, Mike DeCourcy of SportingNews listed his top five breakout players for the 2012-2013 season, and included the Louisville Sophomore. Decourcy has high hopes for Blackshear’s Sophomore campaign.
Wayne Blackshear, SF, Louisville
Debilitating shoulder injuries limited his freshman season to 105 minutes, but 14 of those came in the Final Four against Kentucky. That Rick Pitino trusted a player with such limited experience for so long on such a grand stage said a lot, and the impression Blackshear left with his strength, athleticism and jumper maybe said more.
If Blackshear can perform this season like everyone expects him to, then he will be one of the top contributors on a team that should go very deep in the NCAA Tournament. Being long and athletic, Blackshear has all the physical tools to not just be a top player at Louisville but a lottery pick in the 2013 draft, if he chooses to forgo his Junior and Senior seasons. Barring any more injuries (knock on wood), I am confident that we will see the Wayne Blackshear that we have hoped for ever since he committed in 2009.