UT recruit Braxton Blackwell, a CPA freshman
MURFREESBORO -- If you don't know the name Braxton Blackwell too well, that will likely change in the next few years.
The nephew of former University of Virginia standout Ralph Sampson is a 6-foot-7, 205-pound freshman guard for the Christ Presbyterian Academy boys' basketball team. CPA is located in Nashville.
But it's Blackwell's abilities and his grown-man physique that have already made him a rising star in the recruiting world. He received SEC scholarship offers before his freshman season even started. Auburn was the first to offer, doing so last summer.
Tennessee and Mississippi State followed a few days later. Virginia recently offered, and that brought his offer count to eight.
"I really don't think about (recruiting) right now," said Blackwell. "I don't have a list or any of that. I'm just blessed to have all these offers. I'm just happy my hard work is paying off."
Blackwell spoke highly of Tennessee's coaching staff, though.
"They're really great guys. I love the way they coach, what they preach about defense," said Blackwell. "I'm all about defense. My dad loves defense. I love the way they play.
"I love their facilities, too."
Blackwell has worked out with his uncle, the 7-4 Sampson, on his low-post game two or three times. Whether Blackwell turns out to be a 7-footer or not is, of course, uncertain.
But the guard said he would more than welcome another growth spurt.
"I study Kevin Durant," said Blackwell. "He's a 6-10 wing (for the Oklahoma City Thunder). He can dribble, shoot, post up. All that stuff.
"The more height, the better, basically."
Blackwell is part of a talented roster for CPA. He plays alongside 6-7 junior forward Jalen Lindsey, 6-5 junior guard Jake Allsmiller and 6-1 junior guard Braxton Bonds (nephew of former MLB great Barry Bonds). All are Division I prospects, as well.
Still, Blackwell managed to lead the team in rebounding (8.0 per game), blocked shots (75) and ranked second in steals (84), heading into the state tournament this week at Middle Tennessee State.
He averages 13.1 points and 3.5 assists per game, both of which rank second on the team.
Lindsey, who has nearly 20 Division I scholarship offers (including Tennessee), serves as one of Blackwell's recruiting mentors.
"He tells me not to worry about (recruiting) during the season," said Blackwell. "Go on a couple of college visits, of course. But don't really worry about. And then after the offseason, during AAU ball, worry about it more often."