This may sound crazy to some Louisville fans, but when Wayne Blackshear verbally committed to Rick Pitino in 2009, it was a very big deal. Outside of Samardo Samuels, Blackshear was the highest rated prospect to commit to Louisville in Pitino’s tenure.
Because he committed so early, fans spent nearly two years salivating at the thought of a McDonalds All American scoring guard thriving in Rick Pitino’s offense. While Blackshear has had some bright moments in his career, as he heads into his senior season, he hasn’t come close to living up to the lofty expectations.
Rick Pitino was critical of Blackshear in his season ending press conference.
“The only player I’ve had that hasn’t had substantial improvement is Wayne Blackshear. And if you ask me to rate him on a 10-star scale as a person, I’d give you an 11,” Pitino said.
“I told Wayne yesterday you need to get yourself in this game. Now he’ll show up for practice and give you 100 percent. But that’s not what our players do here. The Luke Hancocks, the Russ Smiths, the Gorgui Diengs, they get in early, they stay late, they come after, they come in at nighttime, and you’re not doing that. So we’ve got to turn over a whole new leaf, and I told him I want him to text me every day what he has put into each day. Because he’s got to, for his own sake, understand that the world will pass him by if he doesn’t live in that gym. And he’s a great kid.”
“He deserves a great senior year. And I tried to use, I told him Wayne, I’ve seen it all. I’ve seen a young man come in here, and I thought I made a big mistake, he wasn’t this level. Sophomore year I saw a little improvement. He’s not big enough, doesn’t handle the ball well enough. Then he started changing his body, changing his game, and senior year, on Senior Night, I see them all chanting his name, “Larry,” while he’s scoring 30 points. I’m hoping that Wayne has the same senior year that Larry O’Bannon had.”
Blackshear’s former high school coach recently came out and said that he should have never even committed to Louisville.
“The only one of our guys that didn’t hold out for a while was Wayne Blackshear,” Morgan Park High School coach Nick Irvin said when discussing the recruitment of his current players.
“He made an early decision and it was a mistake. Just a terrible decision to go to Louisville. We told him that at the time. They shouldn’t have rushed it.”
Considering he hasn’t had much success in his first three years, you could argue that Irvin has a point. That said, I think Blackshear will be much more involved in the offense with Luke Hancock and Russ Smith gone.