Sheldon Blackwell (via Tanda Blackwell)For much of the past year, coaches have been telling Sheldon Blackwell his erratic jumper is all that separates him from establishing himself as one of Southern California's most coveted class of 2013 recruits.
As a result, the 6-foot-5 combo guard has made it his mission to prove outside shooting is no longer the weakness of his game. Every workout, no matter how exhausted he is or how much he has left to do that day, Blackwell will not leave the gym until he has sunk a certain number of jump shots, sometimes 300, sometimes 500 and sometimes even 1,000.
If Blackwell can consistently make opposing defenders pay for daring him to shoot from the perimeter during the July evaluation period the next three weeks, he believes scholarship offers from marquee programs will follow. Gonzaga, Washington, UNLV, and St. John's are among the high-majors who have emailed and sent letters so far, but mid-tier West Coast Conference programs like San Diego, San Francisco and Pacific are the only schools to offer scholarships.
"Trying to get my dream schools involved, that does drive me," Blackwell said. "I feel like I'm underrated and I feel like I can do better, but that's up to me. I try to block out all the pressure on me and just play my game, but I do feel like I have to play better and do better."
The pressure facing Blackwell this month to showcase the improvements he has made to his game highlights the fact that elite recruits typically aren't the ones with the most on the line during the July evaluation period. Instead those who have the most to lose or gain are the marginal recruits seeking their first scholarship offers or the mid-tier prospects like Blackwell desperate to prove they're good enough for a high-major program.
If Blackwell has any doubts about the impact a strong July can have, the Etiwanda High School senior-to-be only needs to look to his siblings for motivation.Read More »from Make-or-break month: Sheldon Blackwell aims to raise his stock with big July