Hoops Wrap-Up: Wayne Blackshear

Our Cardinal Authority series of stories of "Hoops Wrap-Up" continues, featuring a look at each player on the University of Louisville men's basketball team. A look back at the season and forward to the future: Our focus today is junior Wayne Blackshear:

Wayne Blackshear

6-5, Jr., Forward

Chicago, Ill.

Averages: Blackshear averaged 8.2 points and 3.1 rebounds a game, hitting 40.2 percent from three-point range for fifth in the AAC. Blackshear averaged 19.6 minutes a game and hit 43.3 percent from the field.

Overview: It was another up and down season for Blackshear, who at some points was solid but never consistent and didn't play well in some of the Cardinals biggest games. In the two games against Kentucky, Blackshear combined for eight points and five fouls. He did rank in the top 10 of the AAC for three-pointers made but just never seemed fully comfortable with his role.

Best game: Blackshear had a three-game stretch after he was benched that was his best of the season, including a 23-point effort against Houston. He finished with 23 points on 5 of 6 three-pointers. He had nine points and five rebounds at UConn and then 16 points at South Florida.

Projected future: U of L coach Rick Pitino called out Blackshear at his season-ending press conference, noting he was the "only player in the past four years," who didn't improve substantially. Pitino then named Blackshear a captain for the team next season and said he wanted him to get back to being the player he was when he was an All-American at Morgan Park High School. Blackshear had seemed to have responded to the challenge by his coach and has started the offseason as one of the hardest workers on the U of L team.

Quotable: "I have never in three years seen Wayne Blackshear this devoted to the game of basketball," Pitino said. "He's putting in incredible time. I'm very proud of him."

Fun stat: Blackshear actually did shoot better from three-point range this season, but made the same total – 45 – each of the past two seasons. He was 45 of 139 (32.4) as a sophomore and 45 of 114 (39.5) as a junior.

Bottom line: Blackshear must be that guy for the U of L team this coming season, shooting three's, being aggressive, blocking shots and being a leader. If he reverts to his high school days, Blackshear can be the difference in the Cardinals being a solid team or an elite team.

Cardinal Authority Top Stories