Andray Blatche was born in Syracuse, New York and played his high school basketball at Syracuse’s HenningerHigh School. He went on to play an extra year at the South Kent School in Connecticut where he put up great numbers. The six-foot-11 center was an intriguing prospect and was considered a first rounder by many in the scouting ranks. However, after declaring for the NBA Draft, he fell to the second round of the 2005 NBA Draft. Blatche has had an up-and-down NBA career but has shown improvement and has become a steady big man. The 28-year-old American did something unusual this summer though, something no one expected. He became a naturalized citizen of the Philippines and played for them in the FIBA World Championships, instantly becoming a star on their team.
Blatche had a rough start to his NBA career as he was shot in a carjacking and missed his first NBA training camp. After he recovered, he played sparingly for the Washington Wizards and split his time between the D-League and NBA. After his second season, where he played much more and was effective, the Wizards resigned him. He played with Washington until 2012 and his best year came in the 2010-2011 season where he averaged career-highs in points, rebounds, assists and steals. After being waived via the amnesty clause in 2012, he signed with the Brooklyn Nets and was a nice addition to their bench where he averaged double-digits in points and over five rebounds per game.
Blatche is currently a free agent so when the national team for the Philippines asked him to play for them this summer, he jumped at the opportunity. He has no connection to the Philippines but being able to play basketball on one of the biggest world stages was a no-brainer for Blatche. He was granted citizenship by the Filipino government and quickly established himself as the go-to player on a roster devoid of NBA talent.
The Philippines did not advance past the group stages in the World Championships and finished their run at 1-4. Blatche was one of the tourney’s best players though. He averaged over 20 points and a tournament-leading 13 rebounds per game. He was also one of the most efficient players in the tournament. Currently, Blatche is in discussions with the Miami Heat who could use another talented big man on their roster. After losing LeBron James this offseason, the Heat’s main scorers are Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade. Signing Blatche would bolster the bench and give them a big man that can shift Bosh to his more natural power forward position. Bosh does not match up well against the centers in the NBA so Blatche can take on that role.
Blatche had no connection to the Philippines before this summer. After an unlikely request to play for their national team, the now American-Filipino dual citizen played his cards right and had an excellent offseasons showcasing his skills. He will be signed very soon by the Miami Heat or some other team and immediately give them a boost to their frontcourt.