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.


  1. Butch Warner was definitely left handed, but I don't remember Greg Blair being a lefty. That WAS a while ago, though, and frankly, I barely remember him being on the team.

  2. Definitely forgot Demski... stats may not be huge, but hustle and hard work doesn't show up in stats. Preston Harris, he can't be too far ahead of you on the scoring charts.

    Is Blazek a "walk-on" or is he actually a signee?

  3. Corey: Based on what he said and what was in the paper it looks like a complete scholarship.
    Now is it 100% athletic or a mix that was not mentioned.

  4. Without hating too much...

    another small guard? Really?

    I have to ask Why? I just don't seem it, given what we have listed, I do not see him filling a NEED

    Size and versatility would be more the key you would think - or at least I would.

    Does anyone know who else was looking at him?

  5. Talking to the people at Prep they said there was a D3 in the Rochester area offering a financial aid package but noway as good as GU's.

  6. BMOC: Couldn't disagree with you more about your "small guard hating." You need to get good, young players for the future -- not just think about next year. And the scouting reports I've been hearing from trusted basketball people have been very promising in regards to Blazek. They believe he'll be an immediate contributor.

    Here's how one local coach (who also knows a lot about Division II hoops) described Blazek: "He has the work ethic of Aaron Garrity but has more athletic ability. He's very consistent, which is rare for a high school player and needed on the college level. He gets good shots. He'll be a very good player for Gannon. That's a really nice pickup for them."

    If Gannon signs three more freshman guards and no bigs before next season, then you'll have reason to do some hating (even though Gannon is a Catholic school).

    And I wouldn't worry about the rumor that a DIII was after him. Same thing happened to Steve Moyer after high school. I think the only school that wanted him was Muhlenberg (Pa.) until Gannon came calling last second. And he used his work ethic to prove the recruiters wrong.

  7. I will bow to the superior intellect - or at least better connected - I just hadn't heard anything like that...

  8. Heard it at the Sprimg football game.
    I hate to say this but can anyone confirm that Agee is gone? Left school?

  9. I was told by one of his roommates that Agee is still here. That was 2-3 weeks ago.

  10. lefty

    juco's Craig Dixon 596 points, Bobby Baker 546 points,

    four years Ron Johnson 1187 points

  11. I heard Agee was removed from the team by the university. I wonder if him not playing the last games of the season is related in some way. Since he looked fine during warm ups yet not playing I figured something was going on, though I figured he was in Reilly's dog house for some reason.

  12. Preston Harris could also join Aaron Garrity and Tyler Stoczynski as your favorite Trojans / Knights as he played three years for McDowell before transferring to Cathedral Prep.

  13. Here's an interesting site about D1 xfrs looking for a home.

  14. Can someone PLEASE get this to Coach Reilly.

  15. All those kids are going to transfer? Wow, maybe the problem IS a lot more widespread that we thought. Likely even worse at DII, where visibility (as far as posturing for the pro scouts, anyway)isn't as big an issue.

  16. When you first look at the list it appears to be problem but on second glance it is not much. You are looking at around 135 kids and put that over 346 D1 schools that is less than 1/2 a kid per school. Even if this list is only half the kids transferring it is still less than one player per school. That is not a lot of turn over.

  17. Sure seems like a lot to me, particularly when you think about it a little and realize that he couldn't have gotten the names of ALL the kids who are transferring. Maybe this has been going on at a similar volume for a long time and you just never heard about it.

    You can probably eliminate the smaller DI's like the Ivy League schools, Patriot League schools, etc from the number of total schools, and the number per school goes up. I think I might go through the list over the weekend and find out which conferences are most affected and which you can eliminate as having a problem. That should skew the number somewhat.

    But 135 kids wanting to transfer is still a lot, even if it's less than one per team.

    Speaking of which, now that it's Easter (practically May, even though the weather seems more like March) and we haven't heard any confirmation about GU players that are staying or leaving, who's willing to bet that we're going to have some more kids leaving the program other than by graduation/expiring eligibility?

    I would think that if everyone were staying, we'd have heard about it by now. And we haven't.

  18. I think according to the article that Jim posted a while back that the transfer rate is up from 8% to just over there is definitely a trend upwards.

    Gannon's transfer rate since Reilly took over is around 34%...

    So Gannon is way over the national average. Don't know what the median is though...

    g74...but I would anticipate that all of those kids are not coming back, particularly some of the ones who didn't play...let's hope the nucleus of Agee, Furno and Battle stay in place...

  19. A couple comments-

    First, if GU is depending on Furno to be a critical piece of the puzzle, they are in trouble, at least based on his performance to date. He still regularly gets shoved out of position, isn't able to effectively box out, is slow to the ball on contested rebounds, and still has trouble catching the ball. If anything, he seemed to slow down last year and never really jumped as well as he did his freshman year.

    I'm of the opinion that Furno may have been nursing a bad knee last season(I know he hurt it right before the season started, and may have come back too soon when he should have rested the knee), which could account for the slowing of his footspeed and his ability to jump. However, the other issues are such a handicap that I'll be surprised if he's ever a factor beyond a supporting role.

    As for the Agee situation, it should be interesting, based on the curious end to his season last year. To hold out your leading scorer when he did not appear to be hurt and never really provide an explanation is an unusual tactic, to say the least. Something untoward had to be going on there, and who knows if whatever it was can be overcome. Since we haven't heard anything yet, I am not optimistic.

  20. G74 Good read on Furno and I believe
    Agee is gone from school. I've heard
    this from 2 sources.

  21. I don't think Furno was ever considered to be a "critical" piece of the puzzle but as a support or team player. He plays the Reilly role. I rather have him at this stage than some of the others whom have passed through this team. He gives 100% in practice and games, plays pretty good post defense despite his weight disadvantage, excellent student, and doesn't get into trouble. And I don't think he will ever live up to the expectations most bloggers on this site have since "gold" as in Goldkamp is the standard he is judged by. He is a better 4 than a 5 but has been asked to play the 5. Until Coach gets a true big, Furno will be outweighed and moved about in the post. It is what it is.

    Most bloggers here just loved Agee. GU Fanman is right, he is gone. Not so great after all.

    Also hear Smith and Rumph not coming back either.

  22. GUBB, I agree with your explanation of what to expect from Furno. That is all we can hope for.

    However, someone had referred to the Agee-Furno-Battle nucleus as if Tanner's return was critical to the team. His prescence would be important, but not critical.

    The loss of Rumph and Smith would not be anywhere near critical. Unfortunate results of having to bring in so many players of the same class year and at the same position. Not nearly enough available minutes and some players are sure to be unhappy.

    It has been rumored that the names mentioned here may not be all the casualities, unfortunately. Let's hope those rumors are wrong.

  23. G74

    I agree Furno is not a critical but important piece for the team and I'm not sure anyone on this current team is a critical piece ... maybe Battle and I hear he is back. I heard the shoulder injury Furno got during the season may be torn and surgery needed to repair. If surgery needed, it could be 6 months of rehab. Rehab would restrict his off season training. He was banged up this season with the right shoulder injury and the knee (though I thought it was an ankle) and these injuries might have effected his play. I also hope there aren't anymore losses.

  24. This constant "is he back" and "is he leaving" is wearing me out. If I want a bunch of one-and-dones, I'll start following Kentucky.

    This is starting to feel like the 1990 Erie Wave.

  25. I could maybe handle the one and dones if they came with victories (see Kentucky)...(see Vince Mosley)...

    But one and dones and 15 wins...

    That's tough, especially if the above posters are correct and this is another "starting over" type of year. If Agee is indeed gone that means two years in a row GU has lost their leading scorer.

  26. Ck these recruits BB
    Brandon Belt (6-1 175) Baltimore City Comm Coll
    Anthony Wilson, Lorton Va