Several hours after saying he was close to committing to Arizona State after his official visit to the school concluded this weekend, San Bernardino (Calif.) Valley Community College guard Gerry Blakes did exactly that.
"I just feel like ASU is in my lane," said Blakes, who informed coaches after telling ASUDevils.com of his plans. "I like it better than my other options.
"Pretty much, seeing what James Harden and Jahii Carson did at ASU with these coaches, I want to be the next guard to do big things there. I feel like I'm kind of in between those guys as far as my skills and stuff and they will feature me in a way that helps the team and let everyone see what I can do."
A 6-foot-4 combo guard whose strengths include versatility on offense and defense and a natural scoring ability, Blakes is the fifth verbal commitment for ASU in the 2014 class. He will have two seasons of eligibility remaining when he joined the program for the 2014-15 season.
"It's exciting but now I have to focus on getting better," Blakes said. "You're trying to go up a different level and make a big impact and then go up another level from there and be able to do it [in the NBA]."
Blakes chose ASU over finalist LSU, which he visited a week earlier, and said he also had offers from Colorado, Iowa, Saint Mary's and Texas A&M.
Coached at San Bernardino Valley by former ASU player Quincy Brewer, Blakes earned first-team all-league honors last season with averages of 16.5 points and 4.0 rebounds. He hit 41 percent from the field, 33.3 percent from 3-point range and 75 percent from the free throw line. His team finished 22-9, losing in the semifinals of the Southern California regional.
"I'm a definite point guard, a scoring point guard," Blakes said in a recent interview. "That's what I label myself as because I see the floor and facilitate. I have been working on my leadership. Usually I never took that extra step to be the point guard. I always trying to score. But being that I can almost score when I want to, I just get my team involved before I involve myself."