Long, athletic guard with impressive burst who has room to improve as a scorer but rose from relative obscurity to help Notre Dame turn their season around as the breakout performer among last season’s crop of true freshmen.
About Blake Wesley
The breakout star of this year’s freshman class, Blake Wesley showed considerable potential as a shot creator as he helped Notre Dame turn their season around after they got off to a lackluster start. Considered a fringe top-100 prospect in the high school class of 2021 following his senior year at James Whitcomb Riley High School (IN), The South Bend native whose father, Derrick, was a standout at Ball State, became the first local player to sign with Notre Dame since 1985.
Scoring 21 points in his debut and carving out a spot in head coach Mike Brey’s starting lineup just five games into the season, Wesley exceeded expectation averaging 14.4 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 2.4 assists over 29.6 minutes per game to earn All-ACC second team honors while helping the Fighting Irish to a pair of NCAA Tournaments wins.
• Measured standing 6-foot-4.25 in shoes with a 187-pound frame that still has plenty of room to fill out and a 6-foot-9.25 wingspan at the 2022 NBA Draft Combine, Wesley has prototypical dimensions for a shooting guard to go along with nice quickness.
• Serving as the engine of a team deep with veteran floor spacers, Wesley played on the ball quite a bit creating out of pick and rolls, attacking one-on-one, and pushing the ball in transition. Showing the ability to get downhill changing speeds, find the open man, and heat up from the perimeter, the 19-year-old flashed considerable talent even if his consistency as a decision-maker and scoring efficiency remain works in progress.
• Possessing the length and quickness to be a factor defensively, Wesley had some impressive moments busting up perimeter actions and got more consistent with his effort as the year wore on. He was not immune to freshman mistakes but still has some natural room to improve as he picks up high level experience and gets stronger.
• Sliding between roles as a primary and secondary ball handler as a freshman, Wesley served as an X-factor for Notre Dame with his ability to create his own shot, but, perhaps more importantly, get opposing defenses in rotation with his ability to get to spots off the dribble. Getting hot from the field early in the year but cooling off as the season went on, Wesley was dynamic at times at the collegiate level when he found the range on his jumper and was picking and choosing his spots around the rim effectively.
• Adept at getting to the rim showing good burst changing speeds in the half court and long strides in transition, Wesley scored 1.09 points per finishing opportunity [44th percentile], but was significantly more consistent finishing inside in the open floor than against a set defense. While his quickness allows him to get a piece of the paint consistently and he shows nice vision as a passer in spots, he was still developing as a decision-maker and adjusting to the length of opposing defenders last season. Able to play above the rim pretty impressively with a head of steam but still possessing some room to improve as a ball handler, the 19-year-old has a lot of tools to build on as a slasher.
• Getting up two-thirds of his shots from the perimeter and scoring 0.88 points per jump shot in the half court [47th percentile], Wesley ran somewhat hot and cold as a shooter but showed creative footwork in the midrange to create separation, solid consistency in space with his feet set, and some fluidity getting into his pull-up. He has significant room to tighten up his mechanics and find a more consistent rhythm as a shooter which will only make him a tougher cover off the dribble.
• Looking more intent to make the extra pass sometimes than others but threading some heady passes around defenders in the pick and roll, Wesley has some potential as a playmaker even if he was more keen on looking for his own shot this season.
• Finding a more consistent sense of urgency as Notre Dame worked its way back into the NCAA Tournament field over the second half of the season, Wesley began making more of an impact with his tools as the year wore on.
• His combination of length and agility stood out at times when he was containing the ball, darting into the passing lanes, or stunting at the ball, but his technique and consistency remain a work in progress.
Profile by Synergy Sports