Blair with the San Antonio Spurs in December 2010
|No. 45 – Washington Wizards|
April 22, 1989 |
|Listed height||6 ft 7 in (2.01 m)|
|Listed weight||270 lb (122 kg)|
|High school||Schenley (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)|
|NBA draft||2009 / Round: 2 / Pick: 37th overall|
|Selected by the San Antonio Spurs|
|2009–2013||San Antonio Spurs|
|2011||Krasnye Krylia (Russia)|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Stats at NBA.com|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
DeJuan Lamont Blair (born April 22, 1989) is an American professional basketball player who currently plays for the Washington Wizards of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Prior to his NBA debut, Blair played center for the University of Pittsburgh men's basketball team from 2007 to 2009. After an outstanding sophomore season he entered the 2009 NBA draft where he was selected in the second round, 37th overall by the San Antonio Spurs.
The oldest of four children (one of whom died in infancy), Blair grew up in Pittsburgh's Hill District, 600 yards (550 m) from the Pitt campus. Although he was the smallest of his siblings at birth, he was the largest child in his class by the time he started at Manchester Academic Charter School, where he attended kindergarten through eighth grade. Both of his parents played basketball at Schenley High School, which was located in North Oakland/Schenley Heights until 2008, and his uncle ran the nearby Ammons Recreation Center, where he learned to play the game.
High school career
Blair played at Schenley High School. While there he scored 1,563 career points and finished with an overall 103–16 team record, including a 57–0 record within the Pittsburgh City League. He was named the AP player of the state and made first team all state his junior and senior year. Blair led Schenley to the 2007 PIAA Class 4A state championship, the first state title for a City League team since 1978; in the final against Chester (and his future Pitt teammate Nasir Robinson), he had 18 points, 23 rebounds, and 6 blocked shots. He was also named Pittsburgh City League Player of the year three times.
Blair also played in the summer leagues at Pittsburgh's Kennard Park and played a championship game in which his team played against a team led by future Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor, who was also a highly regarded basketball prospect.
His parents admitted that if they had their way, Blair would have gone to Tennessee because they liked the Volunteers' coach Bruce Pearl, and thought it would be a good idea for their son to leave the city. Blair himself had problems making up his mind; while considering as many as 18 different scholarship offers, he was so confused that one day he threw his cell phone across a room, breaking it.
However, Pitt coach Jamie Dixon recognized the importance of Blair's maternal grandmother, Donna Saddler, who had played a major role in his upbringing, and on the first day he was allowed to contact Blair, he called Saddler, asking to come to her house. She told Dixon that they were having a family reunion at the house that day, and invited him to come, which he did. When Dixon was down to his last scholarship in the 2007 recruiting cycle, he called her, telling her that Blair would need to take the scholarship at that time. In the end, Saddler made the decision for him, telling him "Pitt is it." She liked Dixon and the proximity of her home to the school. Also, she was well aware that Pitt would be losing starting center Aaron Gray to graduation, which would have made Blair a likely candidate to start if he attended. He officially announced his decision to attend Pitt at the Ammons Recreation Center, where his basketball journey began, and became the first City League player to play for Pitt since Darelle Porter from 1987–1991.
Blair became the starter during his freshman year. He made the All-American Freshman team, helping the Panthers win the Big East Conference tournament and securing a four seed in the NCAA tournament. The Panthers won their first round game against Oral Roberts but lost in the second round to fifth seed Michigan State.
In the 2008–09 season, Blair helped Pittsburgh earn a number one seed in the NCAA tournament. The Panthers were 20–1 whenever Blair had a double-double, the sole loss was to Villanova in the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament. When he didn't have a double-double the Panthers were 6–4. At the time an unnamed scout from the Phoenix Suns predicted that if Blair developed a better mid-range shot his stock in the draft would skyrocket.
Blair and Connecticut center Hasheem Thabeet shared co-Big East Player of the Year awards for the 2008–2009 season. He was a consensus First team All-American selection by the Associated Press, USBWA and The Sporting News. He also made the NABC's second team and finished tied for second with Tyler Hansborough (2 votes each) for the 2009 AP college basketball player of the year, an award which was won by the eventual 1st overall pick in the 2009 NBA draft Blake Griffin (66 votes). Blair declared his intentions to enter the 2009 NBA draft on April 7, at the time he mentioned that he had not hired an agent. However, in a news conference the following day he announced he would be hiring an agent, forgoing any chance of returning to the school next year.
San Antonio Spurs
On June 25, 2009 Blair was drafted by the San Antonio Spurs in the second round with 37th overall pick. His stock fell because of questions surrounding his durability and knee surgeries. Blair signed with the Spurs within weeks of the draft on July 17. Blair made his NBA debut in game 1 against the New Orleans Hornets, he finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds ranking second in ESPN's "Top 50" Rookie Ranking.
On January 13, 2010, Blair became the first rookie in Spurs history to record a 20–20 (at least 20 of any two statistical categories) since Tim Duncan, when he finished with 28 points and 21 rebounds (10 offensive rebounds) in a 109–108 overtime win against the Oklahoma City Thunder. It was also the first time in 29 years that a rookie who was not drafted in the first round of the draft recorded a 20–20. Blair recorded his second 20–20 of the season in the Spurs' final regular season game when he recorded 27 points and 23 rebounds against the Dallas Mavericks.
Blair also participated in the Rookie Challenge wherein he showed a strong performance especially in the first half, when he made a dunk from the backboard, a trick shot in the final minutes of the game, and tallied 22 points, and 23 rebounds, becoming the first player to have a 20–20 game in a Rookie Challenge and setting a Rookie Challenge record for rebounds. Blair and Tyreke Evans shared the Rookie Challenge MVP award.
On April 29, 2010, Blair was involved in a single car accident en route to a playoff game against the Dallas Mavericks. Spurs shooting coach Chip Engelland picked Blair up and transported him to the At&T Center for examination. On April 30, Blair was named to the 2009–10 NBA All-Rookie Second Team.
In September 2011, Blair signed with BC Krasnye Krylya Samara of Russia due to the 2011 NBA lockout. However, he was released by mutual consent in October 2011. He subsequently returned to the Spurs in December 2011 and in 2011–12, he averaged 9.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 64 games.
The addition of Boris Diaw and emergence of Tiago Splitter led to reduced playing time for Blair and, ultimately, a loss of his starting position during the 2012–13 season. Blair made his displeasure clear as the season progressed and eventually played a minimal role in the Spurs' rotation. The Spurs went on to become Western Conference champions, and eventually fell 4–3 to the Miami Heat in the 2013 NBA Finals.
|GP||Games played||GS||Games started||MPG||Minutes per game|
|FG%||Field goal percentage||3P%||3-point field goal percentage||FT%||Free throw percentage|
|RPG||Rebounds per game||APG||Assists per game||SPG||Steals per game|
|BPG||Blocks per game||PPG||Points per game||Bold||Career high|
-  Profile on the University's athletic site
- Gladysz, Mike (2-24). "As Blair Thrives, NBA dreams become a possibility". The Pitt News. pp. 10–11. Check date values in:
|date=(help) [dead link]
- O'Neil, Dana (2009-01-28). "Just a short walk from home, local boy Blair makes good with Panthers". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2009-02-26.
- "USBWA > All-America". United States Basketball Writers Association. Retrieved 2009-03-17.
- "Sporting News 2008–09 College Basketball All-Americans". Sporting News. Retrieved 2009-03-17.
- "Oklahoma's Griffin is AP's player of the year". rivals.com. Retrieved 2009-04-02.
- "Underclassmen tracker". rivals.com. Retrieved 2009-04-07.
- "Pitt's Blair declares for NBA draft". ESPN. Retrieved 2009-04-08.
- Fittipaldo, Ray (2009-07-17). "Blair, Spurs reach a deal". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2009-07-17.
- Monroe, Mike (2009-10-29). "Spurs show off deep rotation in opener". Express News. Retrieved 2009-10-29.
- Thorpe, David (October 2009). "2009–10 NBA Rookie Class: Top 50". ESPN. Retrieved 2009-10-29.
- Fittipaldo, Ray (May 24, 2010). "Blair seeking more playing time". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved May 24, 2010.
- Spurs’ Blair to play in Russia during lockout
- Krasnye Krylya Samara released DeJuan Blair
- Dejuan Blair not likely to return to San Antonio Spurs in 2013-14
- "Mavericks sign center Blair to one-year deal". NBA.com. Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. August 7, 2013. Retrieved August 7, 2013.
- "Wizards Acquire DeJuan Blair". NBA.com. July 17, 2014. Retrieved July 17, 2014.
- "Mavs send DeJuan Blair to Wizards". ESPN.com. July 17, 2014. Retrieved July 17, 2014.
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