Tag Archives: Wayne Blackshear

Photo by Austin Lassell

Preview: Louisville basketball v. Cincinnati

By Sam Draut

The 15th-ranked Cincinnati Bearcats have been the surprise of the inaugural season in the American Conference, posting an 18-2 record and sitting atop the conference at 7-0.

The Mick Cronin-coached Bearcats hold the highest RPI ranking in the American Conference and also include signature wins against Pittsburgh and Memphis.

U of L hosts Cincinnati Thursday night at the KFC YUM! Center, sitting two games back of the Bearcats. Louisville is in sole possession of second place with a 6-1 conference record.  Cincinnati comes to Louisville riding an 11-game winning streak.

Senior guard Sean Kilpatrick leads the Bearcats in scoring with 18.6 points per game.  Kilpatrick, one of the premier players in the American Conference, has averaged 11.8 points in four career games against Louisville.

Cincinnati has two perimeter players who can stretch a defense alongside of Kilpatrick. Trey Caupain averages 6.8 points per game and shoots 42.1 percent from behind the three point line, while Jermaine Sanders averages 6.5 points per game and shoots 42.9 percent from three.

Tough, gritty and physical basketball has defined the Bearcat program for years.  This season around the rim, senior forward Justin Jackson averages 11.6 points and 7.3 rebounds per game.  Titus Rubles contributes with 7.3 points and 6.4 rebounds per game.

A defense-oriented team, Cincinnati holds opponents to just 55.9 points per game while scoring 70.8 points.  The Bearcats average 8.6 steals and 6.3 blocks per game.

Cronin served as an assistant under Rick Pitino at the University of Louisville from 2001-2003, taking the head coaching position at Cincinnati in 2006.  Since then, the two have met nine times.  Pitino holds a slight edge of 5-4.

Cincinnati has not won in Louisville since the KFC YUM! Center opened, their last road victory against the Cardinals was in 2008.

After having eight days between games, Louisville comes into the arena against Cincinnati riding a four-game winning streak, including two road victories against Connecticut and USF.

Chris Jones has missed three games with an oblique injury, but looks to return to the lineup.  The junior guard is averaging 11.3 points per game and is second on the team with 31 steals.

Wayne Blackshear will look to continue to stay hot–over the past three games he is averaging 16 points per game.  Blackshear started the first 17 games of the season, but has excelled off the bench in the previous three games.

Blackshear emerges as leader

By Sam Draut

Wayne Blackshear came to the University of Louisville as a McDonalds All-American

and the 26th-ranked player by ESPN in the 2011 recruiting class.

But, as highly-touted a recruit as Blackshear was, his career as a Cardinal did not start

smoothly. He suffered a torn labrum and missed more than half of his freshman year.

He debuted against West Virginia and finished with 13 points and four rebounds, a brief

glimpse of his talent.

In the NCAA Final Four game against Kentucky, Blackshear had nine points and four

rebounds in just thirteen minutes.

As a sophomore, Blackshear started 34 games and split time at small forward with Luke

Hancock. Blackshear averaged 7.6 points per game and shot 32.1 percent from the three-

point line.

The 6-foot-5 junior now appears to be completely healthy and taking the ball to the

basket to go along with his jump shot.

“That is my old self, attacking the rim, trying to get into the lane a lot more, I can get

to the free throw line, that is coming to me first now,” Blackshear said. “It’s confidence in

myself believing I can do what I use to do,”

Hancock has been limited by injuries this fall. In addition, forward Chane Behanan was

suspended from the team indefinitely and is expected to return soon.

Because these two players are missing time, Blackshear’s role will be brought to the

forefront.With the absence of Behanan, Blackshear has spent time at the power forward

position.

“If any big guys get into foul trouble or we see a line up where I can be effective at the

four, I think I’ll play,” Blackshear said. “It creates a lot of mismatch problems, I can put the

ball on the floor, and I give the guys a lot of opportunities on pick and roll when I set the

pick. I still have to get adjusted to it, but I think I’m going to play there a lot.”

Defensively, Blackshear gives up some size against most power forwards, but a focus for

him becomes the NCAA crackdown on hand checking.

“We are so used to bumping guys because that is how we play, I just have to get adjusted

to the new rules,” Blackshear said.

Blackshear has been a part of the two deep runs in the NCAA tournament, a Final Four in

2012 and a National Championship in 2013. He has won two conference tournaments, and

since he has been with the team, U of L has a combined record of 65-15.

Now, as junior, Blackshear becomes a veteran and proven winner. As Louisville looks

to establish a mini-dynasty, Blackshear’s development will be a key factor in this season’s

success.

“I’m taking it more serious, working, staying in the gym, learning the offense,” Blackshear

said. “I have to step up and be a leader, that’s what I think my role is, rebound more than I

did last year, and knock down shots, help the team win the best I can.”