Bridgton Academy coach Walt Lesure had new OU signee Carl Blair on his team for a year between Blair’s time at Provine High in Jackson, Miss., and his freshman year at the University of New Orleans.
Blair will be eligible immediately for the Sooners because UNO is dropping from Division I to Division III.
“He’s a big guard, a versatile type of player,” Lesure said of Blair. “He’s been compared to a poor man’s Mark Jackson. His combination of size, overall athleticism and versatility is what potentially makes him a good fit.
“He has a high basketball IQ, he’s got a good motor and is a very competitive kid.”
Lesure said Blair also will bring a winning attitude to Norman.
“He’s won most of his life and in some ways going through some adversity this year with UNO might be good for him,” Lesure said. “He was on a championship team with us, he won a Mississippi state championship and just carries himself that way.”
Lesure said he expected Blair would fit in in the BIg 12 after playing a year in the Sun Belt.
“How do you go form the Sun Belt to the Big 12? One of the ways you do it is with size and strength and overall athletic ability and I think Carl has those things. You’re going with grown men when you go into the Big 12.”
When Blair came to Bridgton, he had just played the point consistently for about a year.
Bridgton used three point guards on the floor at times–Blair, St. John’s Malik Stith and Western Kentucky’s Jamal Crook.
“It worked for us because they were so different,” Lesure said. “We weren’t asking any one of them to be the floor general. In Carl’s case, he got stronger with the ball and he was really effective in transition. We moved him off the balla little bit in the halfcourt.”
Lesure said the biggest key for Blair’s game will be how his defense progresses.
“Many guys start playing defense only when their minutes depend on it,” Lesure said. “Between now and October 15, I have a feeling Oklahoma will have a full roster and have guys that can play. The thing that’s going to separate the guys that play more from the others are how committed they are on the defensive end.”
– Ryan Aber, Staff Writer