Class of 2021 guard Blake Wesley was focused and ready to play when he arrived in Bloomington for the IU basketball team camp back in June.
Just in case a little extra incentive was needed, a fellow South Bend, Ind. product was ready to keep an eye on him.
“It helped to have Damezi Anderson tell him before the camp that when he came down (to IU) he had better play great,” Wesley’s father Derrick told The Daily Hoosier.
Anderson was a senior at Riley when Blake was a freshman at the South Bend high school, and the two now share the same trainer as well. Anderson’s extra encouragement seemingly paid off.
Ranked No. 100 in the class of 2021 according to the 247Sports Composite, Blake was one of the best performers that The Daily Hoosier watched over the course of IU’s two weekends of team camp action. His performance in Bloomington created a buzz, and over the last two months, the buzz became a wave — as in a wave of scholarship offers.
While there was a lot of chatter about the value (or lack thereof) of the NCAA Academy live recruiting period events in July, Derrick Wesley definitely saw a benefit for his son.
“The coaches figured out who the players were and just followed them for a few days, not only in playing, but also in drills and getting instruction from coaches,” Derrick said.
“Several coaches were impressed with how well Blake performed in those drills and his attention to detail. That says a lot more about a player than just a guy that is going up and down the court.”
Offers from Notre Dame, Cincinnati, Purdue, Indiana, Illinois, Xavier and Northwestern have all come since the start of Blake’s participation at the NCAA Academy in Champaign, Illinois in late July.
“Obviously we’re ecstatic about all of the good things that have happened,” Derrick said. “It’s a tribute to his hard work. With five offers coming in 48 hours, we weren’t expecting it to all come together so fast, but we were expecting it to come eventually.”
Blake’s reaction to it, at least outwardly, was very business like.
“I have to go back to work,” he told his father. “I’ve got to get better.”
Perhaps that sentiment comes from a first two years of high school that presented challenges.
Blake spent some time as a freshman on the Riley varsity team that included Anderson, but he saw limited action. His father believes that his time spent practicing against much older players behind the scenes was a clear benefit despite the fact that he didn’t earn much in the way of meaningful minutes.
Blake’s sophomore season got off to a bad start when he broke his shooting hand wrist in September leading up to year two of high school. He missed the entire preseason and the first game of the regular season before being cleared to return.
Once again however, there was some positive from the disappointment, as “he had to really work on that left hand” according to his father.
The 6-foot-5 Blake still averaged averaged 12.3 points, 3 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 1.1 assists in 19.9 minutes per game for the 2018-19 season on a Riley team that featured nine seniors. Blake was the only underclassman that started.
Blake shot 45% from the field overall, 34% from behind the three-point line and 72% from the foul line during his sophomore campaign.
Now an upperclassman, Blake appears destined for big things over the next two seasons of high school.
While he played off the ball over the last two years at Riley, Wesley is “being groomed to be a point guard” according to his father, while having the the versatility to play shooting guard.
He is expected to grow to 6-foot-6 with a 7-foot wingspan according to Derrick, so obviously Blake could play out on the wing in college as well.
“I think he’ll have a breakout year, but I think he also understands that he has to get his teammates involved because there’s a target on him,” Derrick said. “I like that he already understands that and he’s already working on distributing the ball and making the right read.”
The more apt description for Blake at the college level might be as a “combo guard,” and his father believes that having experience at both point guard and shooting guard will come in handy at the next level.
“He’ll have some versatility either way depending on who is there at whatever school he chooses,” Derrick said. “If there is a point guard there, then he can play the two, if there is a two there, then he can play the three. We want him to be able to play and guard all of those positions.”
While Blake is nowhere near ready to make a college decision, IU does have other connections working in their favor beyond Anderson — at least out on the margin.
Anderson’s younger brother Davyion is teammates with Wesley at Riley.
Blake’s mother graduated from IU Bloomington, and his father lived in Bloomington for four years right after college and also is/was friends with former IU players Stew Robinson, Daryl Thomas, Lyndon Jones and Jay Edwards.
Derrick Wesley graduated from Ball State where he was a first team All-MAC player and is a member of the school’s hall of fame. He played for the Cardinals from 1984-1988.
One of Blake’s first offers came from Derrick’s alma mater, something that the senior Wesley described as “great,” but his son seems to clearly be on the high major path.
The family just took an unofficial visit to Notre Dame in early August, and they are taking an unofficial visit to Purdue on September 28. Unofficial visits to IU and Ohio State are also on the radar.
“The IU visit coming up will probably be around a football weekend,” Derrick said. “We just need to talk to the coaches and see when it’s a good time for them too.”
There is one more person they might want to check with before any trip to Bloomington.
Damezi Anderson will likely want to be ready too — just to make sure once again that Blake is on top of his game.
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