Wednesday, April 13, 2011
New Knight: Adam Blazek G 5-11 fr.
Gannon has signed Adam Blazek, a crafty lefty guard from Cathedral Prep. On paper the signing appears to be ... wait a second. Gannon has had its share of lefthanded players, and the Knights can boast of several former Ramblers, but will Blazek be the first lefthanded Prep grad ever to suit up for the Knights? I'm not sure. UPDATED 4/22/11: I received an email from a Gannon expert that he believes Kevin Elwell was the first lefthanded Prep grad to play for Gannon.
But while we're talking about southpaws and Ramblers, let's talk about our favorite Gannon hoopsters who fit those categories:
Best lefthanded Golden Knights: Let's start with Kyle Goldcamp and Mike Crawford. If they played in the same era, Goldcamp and Crawford would have been a formidable inside-outside combo. John Bowen also deserves consideration, seeing that he scored 688 points for some excellent Gannon teams. And I'm almost embarrassed to ask this, but was Butch Warner lefthanded? He's a little ahead of my time to recall that detail, but I'm 51% sure he was a lefty. UPDATED 4/15/11: Warner was lefthanded, as confirmed by Gannon74. UPDATED 4/22/11: A Gannon expert reminded me that Billy Callahan was a lefty Golden Knight.
My favorite lefties: Gerald "Gee" Blanks, my former teammate, was full of energy and possessed springs in his legs. I also need to mention Gregg Blair, the big man who taught me the art of towel waving before he transferred to Behrend. UPDATED 4/19/11: bbfan68 says add the following to the lefty list: Craig Dixon (596 points), Bobby Baker (546), and Ron Johnson (1187). Great names -- thanks!
Honorary Gannon lefthander: Mitch Smith was a natural righty, but occasionally he'd pull up on the right baseline, switch hands, the fire up a midrange jumper lefthanded. Growing up, I thought that was one of the baddest moves I'd ever seen.
Best Prep products to play for Gannon: That's a headscratcher. I zipped through the all-time GU roster, and I think the best former Rambler/Knight is either Cory Knight (462 points) or Todd Stablein (649 points).
My favorite Ramblers/Knights: Even though my dad taught at McDowell, I'm a fan of all the Prep grads who played at Gannon: Stablein, Knight, Stacey Hitt, Jim Toohey, John Trocki, and current Knight Steve Piotrowicz. I even like Andrew Sweny even if he quit the Gannon team after playing just 2 games and scoring just 1 point. (The more GU players below me on the all-time scoring list, the better it makes me look.) Am I missing anyone from this list? UPDATED 4/15/11: Thanks to Willow and Corey for the heads up that Preston Harris and Mark Demski should be on this list. I can't believe I forgot about Demiski. First, I saw him play a ton as a youngster for the Erie Red Storm and, second, he's one of those lunchpail players that I really admire. If Demski's dad punches me the next time he sees me, I'll accept it as appropriate punishment.
OK -- back to Blazek. Here's a collection of info on him, much of it from the Prep website:
* This highlight video is pretty impressive. Blazek has kind of an unorthodox yet athletic game.
* His senior season he was the Erie Times-News District 10 player of the year after leading Prep in points (14.7 ppg), rebounds (5.9), assists (4.7) steals (2.7) and blocked shots. The Ramblers finished the season 14-10, winning 11 of their final 15 games.
* He was named Erie Times Breakout Male Basketball Player of the Week after scoring 24 points vs. Strong Vincent and posting 18 points and 10 rebounds vs. McDowell. (Side note: Proactiv should sponsor the Breakout Player award, don't you think?)
* Here's a quote from Blazek in the Prep press release: “It feels good to stay at home and be in a great situation athletically, academically and financially. To have all the hard work pay off from the offseason is a great feeling. I grew up watching Gannon play basketball and I can’t wait to continue my career in front of the great fans in Erie.”
* Prep coach Mark Majewski is one of the nicest guys I've met on the local hoops scene. His final sentence in this quote has me fired up: “I believe Gannon is a great fit for Adam’s talents and abilities. Adam is a well-rounded player who can do it all: score, rebound, pass and defend. On top of his skills, he is one of the hardest working players I have had the opportunity to coach.”
* According to this MaxPreps website, Prep finished the season ranked 47th in the state and 1,434th in the country. I actually thought they were in the top 1,400 but I'm not going to gripe about it out loud.
* This link takes you to a couple photos of Blazek.
* This is a photo of Blazek and Villa's Lisa Mifsud after they were named D-10 players of the year.
* I bet John Reilly loves this photo -- Blazek playing intense man-to-man defense.
* According to his Facebook page, Blazek is a fan of Manny Ramirez. I can picture Blazek making a lazy, boneheaded play to cost Gannon a PSAC playoff game and Reilly quipping at the postgame press conference, "That's just Adam being Adam."
* The Blazeks are an athletic family. Keith plays baseball at Baldwin-Wallace while Mark plays basketball at Division III Hartwick, where he averaged 14 ppg last year. I saw Mark play a lot for the Erie Red Storm all-star team when he was in grade school, and man was he a hard guard.
* Adam was born in July 1992, three months after I graduated from Gannon. I am officially decrepit.