It's no secret which AAU programs Bob Huggins has close ties with. The Miami Tropics have been good to him recently as he signed Jason Bennett and Luis Colon for the 2006 class. The Pittsburgh Jots are another team that has helped him over the years and, they have a few in the 2007 class that Coach Huggins is taking a deep look at.
One Jot that is receiving interest from Kansas State is 6-7, 270-pound DeJuan Blair. Blair overcame two serious knee surgeries (ACL) to averaged 18 points, 12 rebounds and 5 boards for Pittsburgh (PA) Schenley.
"Every time he steps out on the court he is getting better and better and people see that too," Jots assistant coach Ken Oskie said. "He's a big wide body down there and one of his best assets is his hands, he has great hands. He's a very good interior passer too."
While the Wildcats were on him before his great play in the April evaluation period, there have been a bunch of new schools that have inquired about him in the recent weeks. Not to mention he's racked up scholarship offers from Pittsburgh, Kansas State, Miami, Akron, Rutgers, Tennessee, and Xavier. And recently Wake Forest, Florida and Texas have shown interest.
According to Blair, Xavier, Pittsburgh and Kansas State have been on him the longest. And seemingly he has developed a strong relationship with Coach Huggins, of Kansas State.
"With Bob Huggins, I'm real close to him, Blair said. "Also my AAU coach, J.O., he's real close with him. I've been talking to Bob Huggins for a long time, since he was at Cincinnati. It's going to be a fun process the whole summer and next year."
While he didn't have a great tournament in Akron at the King James Shooting Stars Classic, he played like a man possessed in Pittsburgh at the Pittsburgh Jam Fest. Blair insisted that he was merely trying to show coaches and scouts just how good he is.
"I was trying first of all to get ranked. I'm not ranked on anything. I knew that Scout and Rivals were there so I was playing hard because of that. But also I was playing hard for the coaches to show them what I can do and what they've been missing."
His increased effort and strong play throughout the evaluation period have coaches seeing him in a different light.
"I've talked to a whole bunch of coaches from different schools they were saying that I might not be the most talented, skilled guy. But I'm the best skilled player they have seen from head up and neck up."