Seven footer chooses A&M

After committing to TCU, this seven-footer from Friendswood (TX) decided to go to prep school for a year, but now he's changed his mind once again, choosing Mark Turgeon and the Aggies. Aggie Websider's David Sandhop visits with the newest A&M hoops commit about his decision.

The Texas A&M basketball program found out last week they lost their 7-foot post man Deandre Jordan when he announced he was staying in the NBA Draft. But it didn't take long for head coach Mark Turgeon to find another 7-footer to take his place. Friendswood (TX) High School Class of 2008 big man James Blasczyk impressed the staff at last week's A&M Elite Camp against some of the best talent in the nation, and his performance earned him a scholarship offer.

"I thought I did a pretty good against some solid producers at the A&M Camp," Blasczyk said. "But I had come down earlier on an unofficial visit and played a lot of pick-up games with the current A&M players. They liked my game and I got along with them, so going into the camp I knew they were interested in me."

However, it wasn't until this weekend that the Aggies actually offered the 7-foot-1, 235-pound front court prospect. First, a spot had to open up for the upcoming season. That happened when Jordan made it official last week that he was staying in the NBA Draft.

"They said they wanted me this season, but it depended on if a spot opened up," Blasczyk said. "That happened and it was a great opportunity for me to play for a good coaching staff with a top program close to home. So I took it."

Blasczyk originally signed with TCU in November as a three-star prospect without much national attention. At the time, he was a skinny 6-foot-10, 200-pound project. When the staff that recruited Blasczyk was fired, he was released from his scholarship and back on the open market. In the meantime, the Friendswood product has grown to 7-foot-1, 235 pounds and is still growing.

"I went to the doctor a couple of weeks ago and I'm 7-foot-1 now," Blasczyk said. "He says I'm still growing and he thinks I'll be between 7-foot-2 and 7-foot-3 before I'm done."

But it's not just his height that has Aggie coaches anxious to get him in the gym. Believe it or not, Blasczyk grew up as a point guard. In fact, as late as his sophomore year at Friendswood, he was the team's starting point guard at a mere 6-foot-2. Thus, he combines the skill set of a guard in a 7-foot body.

"I started my sophomore season as a 6-foot-2 guard. By the end of my sophomore year, I was already 6-foot-7 and I started my junior year at 6-foot-8," Blascyzk said. "I played my senior season at about 6-foot-10, but I hit another growth spurt this spring and I'm 7-foot-1."

Even at over 7-feet, Blasczyk still exhibits his skills that he learned as a smaller guard. At the A&M camp, he showed good range on his outside shot and ran the floor well for a big man, but he impressed observers at the camp with his tenacity in the paint.

However, he realizes that to succeed at the collegiate level he'll need to bulk up and develop a dependable post-up game.

"There's a 90% chance I redshirt. I need to gain some weight and I'm looking forward to developing my post moves," Blasczyk said. "I just turned 18 and I'm starting to put on weight (gained 35 pounds since last fall) so I think I'll put on some bulk and be ready to contribute as a redshirt freshman. I plan to develop a sky hook. If I can get that move down, I don't think there's anybody that can block it."

With his continued growth and impressive performances this spring and summer, Blasczyk was hearing from several high profile schools including Oklahoma State, Pittsburgh, Illinois, USC, and Texas Tech to name a few. He was also getting initial interest from the Texas Longhorns, but the offer from Texas A&M was too much to pass up.

"I just liked the coaches. They made me feel comfortable about the situation," Blasczyk said. "I also got along with the players when we played on my earlier visit. I seemed to fit in. Plus, it's close to home so my family can watch me play."

The newest Aggie basketball player will officially join his team in a couple of weeks when the second summer session begins.

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