Blackshear getting back 'to that old person'

University of Louisville sophomore Wayne Blackshear, who missed most of last season because of shoulder injuries, is getting back to his old form. The former McDonald's All-American had one of his best outings at U of L on Saturday in the Red-White scrimmage at the KFC Yum! Center.

Wayne Blackshear was a McDonald's All-American from Chicago and came to the University of Louisville with a ton of hype.

But the 6-foot-5 Blackshear has yet to live up to the hype because of two shoulder injuries that have hindered his progress.

U of L coach Rick Pitino said Blackshear was getting back to his high school form after watching turn in one of his better performances as a college player on Saturday in the Red-White Scrimmage at the KFC Yum! Center.

The 6-foot-5 Blackshear hit 6 of 10 from the field, including 4 of 5 three-pointers, and finished with 18 points and three rebounds in 36 minutes.

"Wayne is about 65 percent of what I saw in high school," Pitino said. "He has torn both shoulders apart, and that will take home some tome to get over it.

"But there's no doubt in my mind that he will get over it."

Pitino said Blackshear, who played in 15 games last season after his return, would play a major role for the Cardinals this season.

"It might take a half a season, but we are very patient," Pitino said. "We have a very deep team and he's not going anywhere. We'll be very patient. It takes time to overtime injuries like that, but he will get over it."

Blackshear said he's "gotten in good shape," and feels like he's mentally getting over the injuries. He said he's "very close" to being the player he was in high school when he was a top-30 prospect nationally.

"I feel like I have been getting in shape, I shot the ball well and did some good things out there," Blackshear said. "I just have to stay in that mindset."

It's been a tough two years for Blackshear.

He suffered his first shoulder injury late in his high school career to his left shoulder and had that repaired, missing the summer before his freshman season. He was cleared last October and a week later suffered a torn labrum in his right shoulder, forcing him to have surgery on that shoulder.

The initial diagnosis said he would be sidelined the entire season but he was released for contact in January and he came back for the Cardinals.

Blackshear ended up playing 15 games as a freshman, including a start against Syracuse, and helped the Cardinals to the Final Four. He only averaged 2.5 points in seven minutes a game, but contributed nine points, four rebounds and a pair of dunks in 14 minutes off the bench in the national semifinals against Kentucky.

While his shoulder has been fine in the offseason, Blackshear said it's just taken time for it to feel 100 percent and for him to mentally get over the injury.

"He wants me to be more aggressive and be an all-around player," Blackshear said. "If I start rebounding the ball a lot more, I think I am back to that old person. It's just in the mindset of rebounding all the time.

"I think it's confidence more than anything."

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