More often than the average person would think, recruiting in college basketball can be about luck.
For Braxton Blackwell, part of the reason that his recruitment has become so heavily publicized is that he was at the right place at the right time.
This past high school season, Blackwell was a freshman at Nashville (Tenn.) Christ Presbyterian Academy where he teamed up with high end 2014 four-star wing Jalen Lindsey. While college coaches flocked to Nashville CPA all season to evaluate and make their pitch to Lindsey, many of them walked away saying the same thing.
That 2016 kid, Blackwell, has a chance to be really good.
Considered to be among the top twenty-five prospects in his class nationally, and arguably the best prospect in the freshman class in Tennessee, the 6-foot-6 wing guard has already made a name for himself in his home region. Now that he's reached the high school ranks on the AAU circuit, that name is starting to grow nationally; especially in a 2016 class which has scouts around the nation brimming with excitement.
Over the weekend, at the Adidas Chicago Classic in the northwest suburbs of the Windy City, Cats Illustrated caught up with Blackwell after he got finished leading his Nashville Celtics AAU team to a win to open the event.
"I have ten offers right now," Blackwell said. "Mississippi State, Auburn, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Florida, Tennessee, Cincinnati, LSU and Memphis have all offered me; and I think I'm leaving one out.
"I'm also hearing some from Indiana, North Carolina and my coaches have talked to Kentucky."
When pressed for more information about where Kentucky stands in his recruitment, Blackwell was willing to give a very honest answer. At this point, he simply doesn't know.
"I haven't had a lot of conversation with Kentucky yet, unfortunately, but my high school coaches have talked with them a good amount. Coach Calipari came to one of our playoff games to watch Jalen Lindsey from my team. After the game he told my coaches that he really liked me and was interested in recruiting me."
As a freshman, Blackwell has no interest in making a school list or even thinking about taking visits at this point; however, the potential four or five-star prospect does say that academics, loyal fan support and a proven winning coaching staff will be factors when he makes a decision a few years from now.
As far as he is from making a decision, Blackwell does know that Kentucky is a school will appear on his future list.
"Kentucky is a great program with tradition," said Blackwell. "If you go there you basically send yourself a one way ticket to the NBA. So many great players have gone through there in the last few years."
With his size at 6-foot-6, legitimate wing skills, a strong build and above average athleticism, Blackwell could be the exact type of player that would thrive in Lexington. He plays with a calm demeanor, is an exceptional passer off of the dribble and is comfortable being a scorer from mid-range or at the rim.
Looking at that overall package, who does Blackwell compare to? That's another answer he's happily willing to volunteer.
"I'm an all-around kind of player. I like to be a distributor and help me teammates get better. As a bigger wing, I studied Jabari Parker and try and model my game after his. I want to learn to play just like Jabari does and impact the game in different ways."