Braxton Blackwell

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Mixtape of top 50 Class of 2016 forward Braxton Blackwell (VIDEO)

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Braxton Blackwell is one of the most versatile forwards in the Class of 2016 and he’s currently focused on six schools in the recruiting process. Alabama, Kansas, Tennessee, Texas, Vanderbilt and Virginia are all in the running for the 6-foot-7 forward and he had a strong summer at times with the Atlanta Celtics.

Here’s a mixtape of Blackwell from Courtside Films. Rivals currently rates Blackwell as the No. 38 overall player in the 2016 class.

Four-star Class of 2016 forward cuts list to six programs

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Four-star Class of 2016 forward Braxton Blackwell is cutting his list to six schools entering the final week of July, according to his high school coach, Drew Maddux. The versatile 6-foot-8 forward is down to Alabama, Kansas, Tennessee, Texas, Vanderbilt and Virginia.

A native of Nashville, Blackwell runs with a loaded Atlanta Celtics team on the grassroots circuit and he’s regarded as the No. 38 overall prospect in Rivals‘ rankings. With an ability to play multiple guard spots, Blackwell is an asset at multiple spots on offense and he can also defend multiple positions on the floor.

Vanderbilt and Tennessee are both local favorites while new staffs at Alabama and Texas have done a nice job gaining ground. Kansas and Virginia are trying to put together big classes and Blackwell is a good piece because he meshes well with many other styles of play.

Recruitment starting to pick up for top 30 point forward Braxton Blackwell

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LAS VEGAS — For high school players the summer months aren’t solely about making a name for one’s self. Those times are also about improving upon their individual skill sets and building on a (hopefully) successful high school season. That was the case for versatile 6-foot-8 forward Braxton Blackwell, who was coming off of a highly successful sophomore season at Christ Presbyterian Academy in Nashville, Tennessee. Last season Blackwell posted averages of 19.4 points, 12.1 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game on a team that finished with a 34-3 record and reached the semifinals of Tennessee’s Division I Class II state tournament.

For his efforts Blackwell was named Tennessee’s Mr. Basketball, extending an impressive streak for the CPA program to three consecutive Mr. Basketball selections. With his ability to affect games in a variety of ways, Blackwell has been on the receiving end of some of the nation’s top college programs. Being a “point forward” capable of initiating the offense tends to have that kind of effect on a player’s recruitment.

“Being versatile,” Blackwell said at the adidas Super 64 last week when asked about his strengths. “I can get a rebound and go, [playing] kind of a point forward position, passing the basketball and defending well.”

As a sophomore Blackwell also averaged more than two blocks and two steals per game, and in Las Vegas his ability to be in the right place at the right time defensively was another asset on display. Playing on a team that featured fellow 2016 prospect Kobi Simmons, it was just as likely that Blackwell was the player with the basketball in his hands looking to make a play for his teammates. That freed up Simmons, a point guard more likely to score at this stage in his development, to do more scoring for the Atlanta Celtics, and Blackwell’s understanding of the game is something that can benefit future teammates at the college level as well.

When asked what he’s looking to improve upon this summer, Blackwell’s answer was direct and to the point.

“Shooting and being more aggressive offensively,” Blackwell stated, and for the role he hopes to have at the college level those are obviously important tools to strengthen. Having a consistent jump shot can open things up from a spacing standpoint for a player serving as his team’s point forward. And there’s also the need to properly balance finding looks for oneself and making sure teammates are getting looks in the areas where they’ll be most successful as well.

Among the schools mentioned by Blackwell when asked about his recruitment were “Providence, Florida, Indiana, Tennessee, Memphis, Vanderbilt and a lot of other programs.” And being from Nashville, Blackwell’s bound to attract a lot of attention from Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings. How much attention? During one of Blackwell’s games in Las Vegas, the entire Vanderbilt coaching staff was in attendance, taking in the action from the front row of the coaches section. And as is the case with many recruits, that kind of effort doesn’t go unnoticed.

“That just shows that I’m probably one of the priorities in their class,” Blackwell said. “It’s pretty cool to see all four coaches there.”

As Blackwell continues to sharpen the tools that have made him one of the better recruits in the Class of 2016, programs will intensify their pursuit of his signature on a National Letter of Intent. And for the versatile Blackwell, who spoke of studying journalism in college, his ability to do a variety of things on the basketball court has resulted in his having multiple options when it comes to picking a school.