Nate Blue sees promise in hoops showcase

Nate Blue’s phone would not stop ringing. One college coach after another was calling the director of the NCAA-sanctioned Real Scout High Major Classic after the showcase for local hoops hopefuls at Fordham University’s Rose Hill Gym was held.
“It was definitely good,” he said. “Coaches are calling and telling me the event was run smoothly and they got a chance to see players they never saw before who were talented.”
The day’s events featured three All-Star games, one for underclassmen, another for junior college players, and wrapped up with a game for soon-to-be seniors, all in front of close to a 100 college coaches and scouts on the final day of the NCAA recruitment period.
The games may have lacked the city’s top talents - for instance, Queens’ best such as Holy Cross’ Sylven Landesberg, Christ the King’s Erving Walker, and Cardozo’s James Southerland were no-shows - but it gave others, kids who do not travel across the country for A.A.U. tournaments or play for elite high school programs, the chance to be seen.
“There are not too many big events in New York like this,” NYC Finest Academy and John Bowne assistant coach Roberto Diaz said.
“I’m trying to give kids in the area exposure,” said Blue, a Corona resident and Newtown graduate. “I want this to be something where every year kids are telling me: ‘Nate, I got to make that game at the end of July.’ ”
“He’s giving us a helping hand,” Notre Dame Prep (Fitchburg, MA) guard and Laurelton native Sean Crawford, who played in the upperclassmen game.
The event will not end here, said Blue, a full-time Verizon employee and former assistant coach at Newtown and Bishop Loughlin. With backing from NBA star Charlie Villanueva, a former pupil and now close friend, the second annual Real Scout High Major Classic took a step up from last year’s original held at St. Sebastian’s Middle School in Woodside.
The timing was not right then, on the same weekend as Reebok’s ABCD Camp, along with Adidas and Nike’s exposure camps.
However, with the format of those showcase events changing, limiting the number of participants, this certainly has found its niche, Blue said. Next year he wants to run an ABCD-style three- to-four-day event at the end of July. “I’m going in the right direction,” he said.

More from Around New York