Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Eric Bledsoe, the No. 3 point guard in the Class of 2009, arrived in Memphis Thursday for his official visit and was overwhelmed by the local media.
Bledsoe will head to Kentucky on Friday and then decide between John Calipari’s old and new programs.
“I’m just looking for the opportunity to play ball and make it to the next level,” Bledsoe, a senior at Parker (AL) High, told a crowd of reporters in an interview broadcast on MyFoxMemphis.
Bledsoe had initially listed Florida as his leader but said he will choose next week between Memphis and Kentucky. Both schools are in desperate need of a point guard.
“I’m going to make my decision next week,” he said.
Current Memphis head coach Josh Pastner recruited Bledsoe when he was an assistant to Calipari at Memphis and Bledsoe said the two still have a close relationship. Bledsoe said Pastner told him the Tigers would run even more than they did under Calipari.
“[He said] they was going to run even more, more than Calipari did,” Bledsoe said. “He was going to work hard.”
Point guard John Wall of Raleigh (N.C.) Word of God is the No. 1 recruit in the class and is widely viewed as Kentucky’s first choice to play point guard. Wall has a long list of suitors including Kentucky, Duke, Baylor, Kansas, N.C. State, Florida, Memphis and Miami.
Wall said in a text message Thursday that he had yet to cut his list.
Asked if it bothered him that Wall was considered Kentucky’s first choice, Bledsoe said: “No, sir. No it don’t. I’m going to play my position either if he do go or he don’t.”
Asked if they could play together, Bledsoe said, “Yes, sir.”
The 6-foot, 160-pound Bledsoe averaged 20.4 points, 11.2 rebounds and 10.3 assists in leading Parker to the Class 5A state championship game. The Thundering Herd beat Kentucky-bound big man DeMarcus Cousins and Mobile (AL) LeFlore 52-39 in the semifinals.
“I’m a pass-first point guard,” he said. “I can help everybody get to where they need to be.”
Memphis has produced back-to-back one-and-done point guards in Derrick Rose, now starring in the Chicago Bulls-Boston Celtics series, and Tyreke Evans, and Bledsoe said he liked the fact that he could step in and follow in their path.
“It’s a point guard school. They make point guards go to the NBA,” he said. “That’s how I like it. I could step right in and be the guy, that’s why I like it.”
(Photos courtesy Birmingham News, Rivals)
Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.