Heels in Contact with Blackwell

For a skilled player that is both nationally recruited and a consensus Top 50 prospect, Braxton Blackwell has a way of hovering below the radar.

The rising junior from Nashville (Tenn.) CPA doesn't hunt his shot and finds ways to contribute in many different facets of the game.

At the NBPA Camp last month, he was content to play a complementary role and didn't complain or back down from the challenge when assigned to play heavy minutes at the power forward spot. Instead, he viewed it as a learning opportunity.

"It's fun playing power forward," he said of the experience. "I'm learning how to bang and play with the bigger plays. It's helping me out in my game a lot and I'm playing rally good competition. These guys are bigger and stronger than me."

At 6-foot-8 and 220 pounds, Blackwell likely projects as more of a combo forward at the next level, hence he'll be able to utilize what he learns from playing at the ‘4' spot.

"He's a sure-handed handler and passer … plays an intelligent game that's under control," Scout.com analyst Rob Harrington wrote this spring after viewing Blackwell on the adidas Gauntlet circuit.

"I think his ultimate projection, wherever coaches decide to slot him in the lineup, will be a power perimeter player with jump shooting range (based on form) and the strength to post up smaller defenders.

"He likely never will become a mix tape dynamo because that's not his style, but he's a talented, steady prospect who will continue to exist in high-major space."

High major programs have recognized his talents and the offers continue to come his way. Within the last few weeks he added offers from Oklahoma State, Cal, Ole Miss and Wake Forest.

Blackwell, who spent the first decade of his life in Georgia and considers Atlanta home (he plays for the Atlanta Celtics on the AAU circuit), noted having just spoken on the phone to offering schools Virginia and Vanderbilt.

But as far as the schools recruiting him the hardest?

"I'd say the ones that are separating themselves right now are North Carolina, Indiana, Providence, Florida, Tennessee, Memphis," Blackwell said.

The Tar Heels were among the schools that phoned him when the unlimited contact period began last month.

"Coach Roy Williams has called me a couple times, Steve Robinson's been texting me," Blackwell said. "They came down to my school and watched me play twice this year.

"We don't really talk about basketball – they're just trying to get to know me better and I'm trying to get to know them better."

Blackwell has family ties to Robinson. In fact, he's related to the UNC assistant coach.

"It's through marriage," he said. "I used to go up there (to Chapel Hill and UNC's camps) every summer when I was a little kid."

Blackwell hasn't made that trip in recent years, but aims to return to the campus soon for a recruiting visit.

"I want to get out to North Carolina," he noted.

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