One of the best things about Wayne Blackshear’s career at Louisville is the number of nicknames Wayne has accumulated during his career. “Big Game Wayne”, “Fat Wayne” “Eyeliner Wayne”….we can go on and on. But one thing has been overlooked during this run of Four Sweet 16s, Three Elite 8s, Two Final Fours (hopefully Three), and 3 Conference Championships…….Wayne Blackshear has been the foundation of the program.
“I’ve always felt that Wayne never gets the credit he deserves,” Rick Pitino told reporters in Louisville prior to leaving Louisville.
Consider the accolades: 1000+ point scorer, 400+ rebounds, 100+ steals, nearly 100 assists, 152 made 3-pointers (just outside the Top 10), 3 Conference Championships, 4 Sweet 16s, 3 Elite 8s, 2 Final Fours, and a National Title.
What Wayne does, however, is MUCH MORE than just stats. In 4 seasons, TheCrunchZone.com has interviewed Blackshear a great deal. After losses and after wins one thing stands out: He’s Even, Steady. Always. His attitude is off-the-charts. Even when visibly frustrated Wayne says the right thing. He doesn’t get rattled.
That type of poise transfers into his game. Blackshear may not have huge scoring nights, but when does Wayne ever get beat on defense? When is he out of position? When does his display frustration?
And that level of attitude, being EVEN helps the Louisville Basketball program. Coaches can rely on him, his teammates calmed, and his example has propelled the Cards to heights unknown since the 80s.
“Leave him in there.” That’s what Wayne Blackshear told Rick Pitino during the North Carolina State game in the Sweet 16 when Anton Gill sparked the Cards and regained the lead on 3-3 shooting with 7 points and added a pair of steals. On the bench, one of the most competitive people at UofL was selfless and wanted to keep the hot player on the floor.
That’s Wayne. His leadership, his play, his example, and his attitude & demeanor, is the foundation for Louisville Basketball. And for all of his nicknames…the one most well-earned is Wayne “The Rock” Blackshear.