Guard | 6’5” | 185 lbs. | Freshman | Age: 19
2021-22 stats (35 games): 14.4 PPG | 3.7 RPG | 2.4 APG | 1.3 SPG | 40.4 FG% | 49.5 TS% | 16.9 PER
Generates Rim Pressure:
Whether he was operating in transition or in the half-court, the thing that stood out (to me) most about Wesley’s game was his ability to get to the rim. He’s got the truly elite first step with an excellent acceleration, long strides and top-flight speed to put pressure on the rim and bend defenses.
Of course, this helps with a good physical profile: 6-foot-5 with a 6-foot-9 wing span. But Wesley flashed the potential to guard 1 thru 3 at the collegiate level; he was a very good on- and off-ball defender and was very engaged at the end of the floor — which the Heat brain trust would love. His combination of length, quickness and agility were more-than-showcased at the end of the floor. He’s good at playing the passing lanes and can disrupt entry passes. Wesley is good about not biting on shot fakes, remaining vertical on the interior.
Wesley was arguably Notre Dame’s top shot creator and most effective pick-and-roll ballhandler. Wesley oftentimes made sound reads and relayed the ball to the open player; he wouldn’t typically forces a very difficult pass and will be play within the flow of the offense. He flashed lead shot-creation capabiliites with the Fighting Irish and could be a quality secondary creator at the next level.
Like most freshmen at this stage, Wesley’s jump shot was inconsistent throughout the season. He got better at leveraging his quickness to pull-up for a mid-range attempt or a 3-pointer with confidence throughout the season. But the results became inconsistent. The most daunting stretch came in his final eight games of the season, shooting just 36.9 percent from the floor and 17.2 percent from distance after knocking down 41.4 percent of his shots (32.9 3P%) in his first 21 games.
Perhaps Wesley’s greatest area of improvement is his finishing. At times, he’ll snake through the lane and finish over much larger defenders; other times, he lacks the change of pace and is revved up to 100, occassionally getting rushed on his finishes; WEsley has solid touch, though sometimes it can get frantic. As his body matures with added change of pace, his body control will become less of an issue. His finishing is the most glaring flaw in his game and will need to be improved upon if he wants to become a true three-level scorer.
The former four-star recruit burst onto the scene at Notre Dame, ending his Fighting Irish career as the first one-and-done prospect in school history. He showed flashes as a lead shot creator as a shooter and playmaker, while also showcasing strong ability getting to the basket. His shot was a little inconsistent, but Wesley’s a rock solid defender on- and off-the-ball with multipositional versatility. Even if it doesn’t fit the biggest need, the 19-year-old should absolutely be a prospect the Heat are considering late in the first-round, should he drop that far.
Highlights/Games to Watch:
What others are saying about him:
ESPN’s Jonathan Givony:
“Wesley is one of the most physically gifted guards in this draft, capable of getting into the paint at will with his strong frame and explosive first step. He made strides as the season moved on both defensively and with his ability to create for teammates, and if he can continue to evolve as a shooter, he has the potential to be a real mismatch with the ball in his hands.”
Sports Illustrated’s Brett Siegel:
Improving a lot over the course of his freshman year, Blake Wesley has a chance to be a high-impact scorer at the NBA-level. While listed as a shooting guard, Wesley has a chance to be a combo-guard that can be a team’s primary ball-handler because of his tight handles and hig understanding for the game. Possessing a strong looking jump-shot and having the ability to get to the rim offensively, the Notre Dame product will most definitely be a first-round prospect.
Blake Wesley is a star in the making. He wasn’t the most heralded recruit coming out of high school but is having a big impact at Notre Dame and looking the part of a future NBA draft pick with lottery potential.
Wesley has great size and a NBA worthy frame. He’s agile, quick and has the ability to penetrate into the lane, using his great burst and solid ball handling abilities. He’s got a nice in-between game and nice touch in the lane and from mid range.
Wesley has room for improvement as a playmaker/facilitator. Right now he’s wired to score the ball – and does so at a high level. He also has a lot of work to do as a shooter and it is likely going to take him a few years before he becomes much of a 3pt threat the next level.
Although his game is raw and unrefined it’s incredibly rare to find an athlete of his caliber who has the ability to take over a game with his blow-by speed and ability to penetrate. Even by NBA standards he’s an elite athlete.
Wesley came to Notre Dame as the No. 100 RSCI high school recruit but has quickly cemented himself as one of the more productive freshmen in the country. He has positional size and excellent length with a knack for scoring at all three levels. He’ll need to improve his overall efficiency before unlocking his full potential, but he has the tools and skillset to develop into a capable NBA player.