Wayne Blackshear is the latest jewel in University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino’s crown.
The 6-foot-6, 210-pound swingman is the fourth junior to commit to the Cardinals, giving them, perhaps, the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class for 2011. Blackshear, who already has a 42-point game, has paced youthful Morgan Park (Chicago) to a surprising 10-1 record this year.
Blackshear also had scholarship offers from powers such as North Carolina, Kentucky and Michigan State.
Former Chicago Sun-Times prep editor Taylor Bell says, "The most impressive thing about him is that he never takes a play off. He plays hard all the time. He’s the real deal. He’s right there with Jereme Richmond (the state’s No. 1 senior, from Waukegan) for Player of the Year."
Rick Bolus, director of High Potential Basketball Recruiting in Shepherdsville, Ky., calls Blackshear "big-time. He’s an athletic player who can literally do it all. He’s a coast-to-coast player."
Bolus ranks Blackshear as the No. 1 junior in Illinois. He ranks another recruit, 6-10, 200-pound Zach Price (Lakewood St. Edward), as Ohio’s No. 1 junior. The other two Louisville recruits, Michael Chandler (6-10, 220) and Ryan Taylor (6-5, 205), both of Lawrence North, are two of his top five Indiana juniors.
All four of the future Cardinals, in fact, are ranked among the MaxPreps top 100 juniors. Blackshear is No. 14, Taylor 51, Chandler 80 and Price 94.
* High-scoring Yates (Houston) outlasted Neumann-Goretti (Philadelphia), 97-96, to win the 26th annual Iolani Prep Classic in Honolulu. Brandon Peters (6-2), a Western Kentucky signee, was the game high with 28 points. He was followed closely by MVP Joseph Young (6-0), a Providence signee who scored 25. Wake Forest signee Tony Chennault (6-2) paced the losers with 28 points.
* Vista (Calif.) senior Stephen Que (5-11) erupted for a school-record 57 points during a 101-99 overtime victory against Chino Don Lugo. The record of 47 was held by his coach, Charlie Mercado.
* Senior guard Ray McCallum had 34 points, nine rebounds and eight assists as Detroit Country Day (Beverly Hills, Mich.) defeated Bishop Luers (Fort Wayne, Ind.), 93-77. Ohio State signee Deshaun Thomas had 34 points for the losers.
* Minnesota Transitions senior forward Kevin Noreen (6-9, 210) is the fifth player in Minnesota history to score 3,000 points. The Boston College recruit has 3,018 points as he chases the state record of 3,428.
* In Michigan, 5-7 senior point guard Maurice Jones exploded for 49 points, but his Saginaw Arthur Hill team still suffered a 103-95 loss to powerful Detroit Pershing. Senior guard Keith Appling paced the winners with 38 points and 10 rebounds.
* Ryan Spangler, a 6-7 junior, collected 40 points, 28 rebounds and seven blocked shots as Bridge Creek (Blanchard, Okla.) edged Luther, 63-61. He’s averaging an impressive 21.5 rebounds.* Brookville (Ohio) senior Courtney Boyd has scored 40 points in her last two outings, raising her average to a glossy 35.9. The Wright State signee also is averaging 14 rebounds, 4.8 steals and shooting an excellent 54.7 percent from the field (41.6 from 3-point land).
* Penn State signee Talia East (6-3) had 28 points, 19 rebounds and 13 blocks as Friends Central (Wynnewoode, Pa.) defeated Germantown Friends, 54-42.
* Jennifer Hamson (6-7), a Brigham Young signee, had 35 points, 15 rebounds and seven blocks as Pleasant Grove (Utah) defeated Dixie, 58-46.
* In Texas, they’re still celebrating Dallas Academy’s 34-33 victory over Johnson County. The Bulldogs, who suffered a 100-0 loss last season, had not tasted victory for eight years. Newcomer Lauren Oelke scored 31 points, including the winning free throw.
* Junior forward Leah Kooienga grabbed 32 rebounds (21 offensive) – No. 3 in Michigan history – as Hudsonville Freedom Baptist defeated Grand Rapids North Pointe Christian, 47-39.
* Former WNBA superstar Sheryl Swoopes is helping to coach the Mercer Island (Wash.) girls basketball team this winter. While filling in for Jamie Prescott, who is on maternity leave, the 38-year-old Swoopes is mulling over a possible comeback as a professional player.
* Dave Preller posted his 500th coaching victory as Woodbury (Minn.) defeated Minneapolis Southwest, 58-50.
Crab Bowl unkind to Cosh
Senior quarterback Billy Cosh, who holds 13 Maryland state passing records, was intercepted four times as the Baltimore-area All-Stars lost to the Washington, D.C.-area All-Stars, 24-21, during the second annual Crab Bowl at snow-filled Johnny Unitas Stadium.
The Kansas State recruit completed 29-of-52 passes for 277 yards and three touchdowns on a day that saw the temperature dip below 30 degrees.
* Mt. Ulla West Rowan senior running back K.P. Parks (5-7, 195) has been named North Carolina’s Player of the Year by the Associated Press. The University of Virginia recruit set national career records for most carries (1,370) and 100-yard rushing games (55).
* USC has received a commitment from George Uko, a 6-4, 300-pound senior defensive tackle from Don Lugo (Chino, Calif.), according to the Los Angeles Times.
* Another California blue-chipper, El Cajon Valhalla senior quarterback Pete Thomas (6-5, 220), has switched his commitment from Arizona State to Colorado State, according to the Denver Post.
* The Baltimore Sun reports that running back Josh Furman (6-3, 200) plans to attend the University of Michigan. Furman, who led Millersville Old Mill to Maryland’s Class 4A state title, ran for 2,285 yards and 31 touchdowns as a senior.
* Eastern Michigan has landed an emerging star, according to the Miami Herald. Senior quarterback Ryan Williams (6-5, 220), who sparked Miramar to Florida’s Class 6A state championship, plans to enroll at Eastern in early January.
Ice hockey at Fenway Park
Believe it or not, two Connecticut schools played a hockey game on a temporary rink set up inside Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox. Watertown Taft defeated Avon Old Farms, 9-5, on the same surface that will be used by the Bruins and Flyers for the Jan. 1 NHL Winter Classic.
Hall of Famer Cam Neely dropped the puck on the opening faceoff as a crowd of 1,000 looked on. The game was played under sunny skies with temperatures in the low 20s. A parent from each high school combined resources to pay $30,000 so their teams could have this rare opportunity.
* The Lynn St. Mary’s girls hockey team defeated Mount St. Joseph, 12-1, to set a Massachusetts state record with its 55th consecutive victory. The Spartans have won the last two Division I state championships.
Shakopee (Minn.) senior Ashley Wittman has been named Gatorade National Volleyball Player of the Year. The 6-1 standout paced the Sabers to a 32-0 record and their third consecutive Class 3A state title with 569 kills and 294 digs. Wittman, who has a 3.87 GPA and will attend the University of Minnesota, was presented her trophy by Misty May-Treanor.
* The Ohio High School Athletic Association has stripped Shaker Heights Hathaway Brown of its Division II girls state soccer title following a highly controversial ruling concerning an ineligible player.
* Ringgold (Ga.) baseball star Matthew Crownover has made a commitment to Clemson University, according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press. The 6-foot, 195-pounder, who already throws 91 miles per hour, is the nation’s No. 1 sophomore left-handed pitcher, according to Perfectgame.org.