Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Cloudy 32° Cloudy

SportsLink

Idaho hoops commit Nick Blair sees ability to help right away

Don Verlin wasted no time filling the void left on the roster when Sekou Wiggs decided to transfer from the University of Idaho.

Nick Blair, a three-star recruit from Bishop Gorman High in Las Vegas, announced on Twitter Thursday his commitment to the Vandals. 

Blair was drawn to the Vandals because Verlin made Blair a top priority, while laying out the ways Blair could come in and help right away. 

 

"He told me, ‘I wouldn’t be recruiting you if I knew you weren’t going to come in and help us right away,’" Blair told the Spokesman-Review. "I knew I had an opportunity whether it’s starting or coming off the bench, it’s definitely a big deal to come in right away to play as a freshman so that’s huge for me."

Verlin fended off schools such as Northern Colorado and Portland at the end for commitment, although bigger schools vied for his services earlier in the process. 

Blair was seriously considering an offer from Arizona State before Herb Sendek was fired, complicating the recruiting process. 

"At one point I was seriously considering going to Arizona State but I decided to wait and see what happens, it was kind of wishy washy," Blair said. "Luckily I was able to wait and pick Idaho after what happened at Arizona State."

Blair is a 6-foot-5, 185-pound forward who could come in and play the small forward position for the Vandals. He's a high-flying athlete with the ability to crash the boards. 

He averaged 9.5 points and 7.2 rebounds per game during his senior season. 

Verlin envisions him as a 'do it all' type player. 

"Definitely a slasher type, kind of a do-it-all guy, be able to come down play defense, get stops, run the floor, get rebounds, try and get steals," Blair said. "When the opportunity comes, when the play is for me, be able to score, just an all around guy. Just have to keep it basic coming in and see how things go."

Blair will arrive in Moscow on the heels of winning his fourth consecutive state championship at Bishop Gorman. The Gaels are a state powerhouse in Nevada.

He played alongside Duke-bound Chase Jeter and five-star center Stephen Zimmerman, who will have his pick of top schools throughout the country. 

"It’s almost a business, believe it or not. It’s good though, it prepares you for a later on thing, it’s nice, it definitely gets you ready for college. Academics and sports wise," Blair said. "(Coach Verlin) knows that I’ve been around competition all four years, playing against top notch competition, and coming from a program where we won four straight state titles. He knows that I have the competitive and winning nature so he knows that will be a huge thing for the team."

Blair anticipates signing with Idaho on April 15 and arriving in Moscow for summer school and summer conditioning around June 12. 

- - - - - - - 

Here and some additional comments from my chat with Blair. He's a well-spoken kid who seems like he put a lot of thought into his decision. 

On when Verlin started recruiting him: "He was looking at me my freshman year and then got pretty serious with things my junior year. Basically from there I started considering Idaho when I heard one of the guys was transferring out and I’d have a chance to play right away. One of my biggest things to go in there was to go in there, go to college and be able to play right away."

On his impressions of Verlin during the recruiting process: "Real serious about everything, I knew he definitely wanted me to come up and be a Vandal. He came up all this way to come see me and then go back and bring me out there for a visit, that’s dedication, that’s a big deal. It definitely showed he was serious about recruiting me."

On his impressions of Moscow: "Definitely different from Vegas, that’s one thing for sure. Not so much city life. It’s nice, a lot of outdoor things you can do, a lot more peaceful, a lot more quiet. I like it, it’s a college down, it’s a real small scene, you can do a lot if you put your mind to it. As far as the facilities, everybody was cool, the coaching staff. It’s a nice place, it’s pretty cool you get to play at a Dome."

On players he connected with: "The ones that stuck out to me the most were Victor (Sanders), Perrion (Callandret), I like Ark’s (Mkrtychyan) game as well, think those three are the most."

On if he's still considering other schools: "This is it for me, it’s a solid. I told myself when I commit, I’m committed. I don’t want to be bouncing around, so this is solid. Good to go."

And some highlight videos of Idaho's newest wing player. 

 



Sean Kramer
Sean Kramer is a freelance correspondent who covers the University of Idaho football team and men's basketball team.





Looking for a Grip on Sports?

Vince Grippi's daily take on all things regional sports has been moved to our main sports section online. You can find a collection of these columns here.