Antonio Blakeney has a very bright future. He's a 6-foot-4 scoring guard from Oak Ridge High School in Orlando, Florida, and highly ranked across all basketball recruiting outlets.
Right now, Blakeney is worried about the present. The seventh-leading scorer in the EYBL is debatably the most important asset on a powerhouse E1T1 squad looking to defend their 17U Peach Jam title.
Heading into Minneapolis with an 8-3 record, Each 1 Teach 1 has put themselves in a terrific spot. Having to play without star forward Ben Simmons in Hampton, and missing his services this weekend in Minneapolis due to exams, E1T1 has relied on the emergence of Blakeney, and his expansive scoring arsenal.
Through 11 games, Blakeney is averaging 19.0 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists & nearly one steal. His highlight performance came against Team United, scoring 42 points on 14-for-20 shooting, scoring in every way imaginable. Phenom Hoop Report's Jamie Shaw has seen a lot of Blakeney, and thinks highly of his scoring prowess.
"Big time scorer. He's bouncy, has a solid handle, high release and good rotation on his jumpshot," Shaw evaluated. "I think his game will translate well at the next level because he scores in so many ways."
Simply put, Blakeney is part of an elite group that is turning into the "year of the combo guard." The list of his fellow EYBL combo guards is extremely impressive; Malik Newman, Allonzo Trier, Isaiah Briscoe, Prince Ali, Malik Monk, Jayson Tatum and Austin Grandstaff.
While Blakeney is aware of his impressive offensive skill set, modeling his game after Bradley Beal, he humbly noted improvements in his game that need to be addressed.
"I think me being able to get to my spots on the floor and knock down jump shots," Blakeney said, when asked of his biggest assets on offensive. "But my rebounding and defense has to get better, though."
An improvement on the defensive end should bring Blakeney's game to a different level. He possesses all of the necessary traits to be a good defender in his athleticism alone, he just needs repetition against the best competition. It's a noted weakness, and Blakeney wants to take it head on.
"I want to guard the other team's best player in every game." Blakeney claimed, fully realizing that the schools recruiting him are going to address his defense regardless. He has a long list of schools that have fell in love with his game, and he is still open to anyone.
"No favorites," Blakeney said, before rattling off a laundry list of top-notch programs. " I got USC, Louisville, Florida State, LSU, Kansas, Oregon, UCF, North Carolina, Providence, Memphis, Missouri and Florida are coming the hardest."
As stated before, Blakeney is worried about one thing; reclaiming Peach Jam gold for E1T1. Blakeney said that his teammate Ben Simmons was the most impressive player that he's seen on the circuit, and didn't shy away when asked if he thought they will repeat.
"Yes, I do," Blakeney said. "When everyone is there and healthy, I feel like we are the best team in the EYBL."
He talks as confident as he scores, and it's hard to argue with him.