A Player Worth Waiting For

They say, "some things are worth waiting for", and that's certainly the case with WVU's pursuit of Andre Blatche.

Andre, a 6-foot-10 220 pound basketball wunderkind from Henninger High School in Syracuse, New York, is not expected to arrive on a college campus for another year. That's because Blatche, although an academic senior at Henninger, just recently turned 17 years old (at the end of August) and will attend prep school for a year before embarking on his college career.

Since West Virginia is out of scholarships for this class, (with verbals from Darius Nichols and Luke Bonner) that scenario fits perfectly with WVU's plans for the Class of 2005. While the Mountaineer staff has been working hard to find a couple of post players they feel will fit the system, they're also in the fortunate position of not necessarily needing someone to make an immediate impact until after the 2004-2005 season, when D'or Fischer and Tyrone Sally graduate. Ideally, Andre could commit to the Mountaineers in the spring of 2004, but not officially enroll until August of 2005.

Based on his performances this summer, Blatche's stock has skyrocketed. Andre is an outstanding defensive presence; blocking or altering several shots in almost all of the games we observed this summer.

Offensively, he has demonstrated solid outside shooting skills and good ball handling ability. In fact, one of the main reasons Andre likes WVU is the way Coach Beilein and staff utilize their frontcourt players on the perimeter. Overall, it's easy to see that he has a tremendous upside. Andray averaged 20 points, 19.8 rebounds and 6.8 blocks as a junior at Henninger. Without question, he will be one of the top 2-3 5th year players in the nation next year.

Blatche currently has narrowed his list to two primary schools, hometown Syracuse and WVU. Georgetown, UConn, Seton Hall and Providence are still in contact and are being considered but are below the Mountaineers and Orangemen.

If WVU were fortunate enough to land Blatche, who saw West Virginia's campus this summer, the Mountaineers could very well be on the verge of a Top 15 recruiting class in 2005. WVU is also interested in Chad Millard, a 6-foot-9 small forward, and Chris Brickley, a 6-foot-3 point guard from New Hampshire. Both are teammates of Mountaineer commitment Luke Bonner. Millard is generally considered one of the top 20 players in the Class of 2005 while Brickley is rated as a Top 75 recruit.

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