Blatche, ranked No. 40 in our pre-season listing, is going to have a big year. Count on it. Somehow, he had a big time junior season and managed to fly somewhat under the radar.
According to his coach Erik Saroney, Blatche averaged 20 points and 20 rebounds as a junior. "I do the stats off the tape, that's not his buddy stuffing the stat sheet off the bench," Saroney said. "He had a 30 rebound game last year."
On Monday night, in a lightly contested scrimmage, Blatche showed no signs of slowing down. Unofficially, he was credited with 45 points, 20 more rebounds and at least 7 dunks.
So, who's interested? "We're planning on visiting Syracuse, Kansas, Connecticut, West Virginia and I think Georgetown," Blatche's mother Andrea Oliver said. West Virginia could receive a January visit and Syracuse has repeatedly asked for him to come onto campus officially.
For starters, Blatche has to take the ACT which he'll do this month. Secondly, there is a lot of academic work that needs to be done before any visits are taken or decisions are made. Prep school remains a possible destination. Blatche had a good initial senior semester, but there's a long way to go this year.
Regardless of whether he plays college ball next season or the one after that, Blatche's growth has mirrored his improvement. Last April, he was 6-8. Now, he's hovering at the 6-10 and beyond mark.
"I could tell because when I look up to him now, I know," Oliver said. "The doctor said he'll probably be between 7-2 and 7-4." While that might be wishful thinking, it's also kind of scary because the past few years, his shoe size has matched his age. Currently, he's sporting size 17s, teetering on 18s.
"He's a lot better than he was," Saroney said. "I'd say the biggest progression is when he went to adidas camp. He figured out that he could play with the big boys. That just gave him all the more confidence." Blatche was named to the camp's all-star team.