Re: The next big player out of Chicago
(Long answer since I haven't talked about recruiting in ahwile)
With D.J. Richardson, Brandon Paul, Jereme Richmond and Crandall Head all going to be here he was going to have to fight for minutes. He's a stud so he would've played no matter who was here, but it's a case of playing 18-20 minutes a game as a freshman, or playing 30 minutes a game at arguably a better program? I can't say I blame him.
He said as much early in his recruitment that he was worried about all the wings Illinois had in the 2009 and 2010 classes. The Illinois staff definitely recruited him, but he wasn't a super-high priority because I think they knew he wasn't super-high on us.
Plus, we were hard after Bradley Beal from St. Louis, who's a slightly higher-rated shooting guard prospect than Blackshear and a lot of people thought we had a good shot at him (he committed to Florida). Not to mention we were, and still very much are, hard after shooting guard Chasson Randle from Rock Island, a Top 50 recruit who appears to be an Illini lean.
Also...you're familiar with Chicago politics? Well, the same kind of principles, or lack thereof, apply to recruiting the Chicago Public League. 9 times out of 10 someone's getting their palms greased for big-time recruits from the CPL. Illinois isn't going to do that. They didn't do it for Sherron Collins, they didn't do it for Derrick Rose, so they're damn sure not going to do it for Wayne Blackshear. I'm not saying this happened with Louisville, no idea. I just know how recruiting the CPL works.
I'm anxious to see Blackshear play again sometime. The last time I saw him was last season, once on TV and once in person at Assembly Hall. I thought he looked the part of a big-time wing player but was more athlete than player, but apparently he finally put it all together last summer and is putting up monster numbers. Some say he's the best prospect in the state now regardless of class; I'm skeptical that he's better than Jereme Richmond; I think he's stronger and more athletic, but Richmond's a 6'8", highly athletic dude who can play the point as easily as he can play the 4. I'll believe Blackshear's better when I see it.