Every once in a while, I’ll see a feature where the writers try to construct the perfect player in a sport based on the qualities of existing players. In college hoops this season, it would be something like a combination of the vision of John Wall, the rebounding of Brian Zoubek, the quick hands of Al Nolen, and the gritty determination of that guy that puts up horrible stats but everybody knows he’s awesome because of his gritty determination. (Actually, I’ve never seen such a feature, but it provides the only premise I could think of here.) There’s no need to write that story this season, because that player exists – he is Vermont’s Marqus Blakely, a rare 10/20/30 guy. (Hat tip to my pal Lou from Burlington for bringing this to my attention.)
Currently he sports offensive and defensive rebounding rates north of 10% and 20%, respectively, along with an assist rate better than 30%. When he’s not rebounding or setting up teammates, you can find him at the free throw line where he leads his conference in free throw rate (and converts at 71%). And you know what else? Balkman defensive stats!! He leads America East in both block and steal rates as well. He’s mastered every skill in the sport except three-point shooting.
Amazingly, he’s only 6-5. If he could change that 5 to a 7, he might be on a draft board somewhere. As it is, he’s probably headed the way of Kyle Hines after this season. Nonetheless, admire the versatility of Mr. Blakely while it lasts. He is a unique individual.