July 9, 2008
Blue explodes on national stage
Though fans in Madison are well aware of 2010 prospect Vander Blue, the Madison Memorial prospect was not a household name on the national stage when the summer began in May.
Fast-forward two months later and the 6-foot-3, 180-pound point guard currently sits as the 29th ranked player in his class and a newly minted four-star athlete after his performance on the AAU circuit with the Illinois Warriors this summer.
"The (Madison) Spartans are a good team but I'm looking for the best challenge out there and that's what I get with Illinois," said Blue, who has been playing with the Illinois-based team since his sophomore season concluded. "I'm just looking for the best opportunity to compete."
Blue has teamed with Anthony Johnson in the Warriors' backcourt to create one of the top one-two guard combinations in the nation. In late May, the duo combined for 39 points in the championship game of the Bobby Hussey-Nike Memorial Day Classic to defeat the Alabama Challenge, 75-70, in Nashville.
"I just like how we play together," Blue said. "We feed off each other and we've had good results together."
When his AAU schedule wraps up in a few months (Blue plans on participating in the Peach Jam this weekend), Blue will be surrounded once again by a host of talent at Memorial.
Recently, teammate Jeronne Maymon, the player of the year in Wisconsin as a junior, gave his verbal commitment to Marquette, choosing the Golden Eagles over Iowa State, Kansas, USC and Baylor.
"Jeronne and I are real close; he's like my brother," Blue said. "I feel like he made the best decision for him and I'm happy for him. He's staying close so we can still play against each other and keep our relationship strong."
Added Maymon at his news conference in May: "Vander's my boy and now we get to play one more year together and then the next four years at the next level. He's like my little brother."
If Memorial didn't have enough hype going into the 2008-'09 season, rumors are swirling that the top in-state player in the 2011 class could be headed to Madison before the start of the school year.
"Yeah, that's been going all around school," said Blue on the talk that Larry Bradley, the starting point guard at Milwaukee Vincent as a freshman, could be looking for a new school. "I'm sure having him on the team would make us that much better, but if it doesn't happen, we still know what we have to do."
Blue added he had not talked directly to Bradley about transferring, but the two have conversed at various tournaments. Memorial, Milwaukee Bay View and a few Chicago-area schools have all been tossed around in the discussion, though it all remains speculation at this point.
Regardless of Bradley's situation, Memorial will be the early favorite to claim the Division I title in 2009. Led by it's two blue-chip recruits, along with the fire burning from a 58-56 overtime loss to Wauwatosa East last March, Memorial's goal, according to Blue, is quite simple next season.
Win it," Blue said without hesitation. "Win it all. That's it."
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