Interview Conducted by Chris Monter
Kendall Blue, a 6-foot-5 junior guard from Woodbury (MN) East Ridge, is ranked as one of the state’s top players in the Class of 2022.
Blue averaged 15.0 points and 4.9 rebounds per game this season as the Raptors finished 12-7, losing to Cretin Derham Hall in the Section 4AAAA finals 76-61. He scored in double-figures in 16 of 19 games with a season-high 23 points versus Forest Lake.
Blue averaged 14.1 points and 4.9 rebounds per game as a sophomore as the Raptors finished 23-6, losing to Cretin Derham Hall in the Section 4AAAA finals 51-48, snapping a twelve-game winning streak.
GopherHole caught up with Blue at a recent D1 Minnesota AAU practice to learn the latest on his recruitment and upcoming senior season.
GopherHole: You guys have played in two AAU events. I know that you got off to a bit of a slow start, but played very well this past weekend. How pleased were you with how well the team played in Kansas City?
Kendall Blue: I wasn’t there, actually, but I heard that the team played really good, so I am glad to be back at practice with the guys and everything. I’m ready to work with them and hope that we can win more games.
GopherHole: You are finally going to be a senior next season. Has it gone pretty fast or faster than you thought it would go?
Kendall Blue: It’s gone pretty fast. Last year, I was a sophomore playing varsity. Breakout year. That went by pretty fast. This year was different, because of COVID and everything, so that went by fast. We had shorter games. Shorter seasons, but I am ready for next year. Just ready to work next year. Ready to go off next year.
GopherHole: What is the latest on recruitment? How many offers are you up to right now?
Kendall Blue: I’ve got eight offers right now. I’ve heard from new colleges, like Arizona, Minnesota. Schools like that, but recruitment has been pretty on the low right now.
GopherHole: Do you remember the offers off the top of your head?
Kendall Blue: Marquette, Cal Poly, St. Thomas, Santa Clara, Western Illinois, George Washington and Wyoming.
GopherHole: Obviously, a couple of those schools have had coaching changes. Have you talked to some of the new coaches like Marquette and some of the others?
Kendall Blue: Yes. I talked to new assistant coach, Cody Hart from Marquette. I hit him up on Twitter. I saw that he followed me, so I followed him back and gave him my number and everything.
GopherHole: What things are you really working on this year to get ready for a big year this upcoming season?
Kendall Blue: My jump shot, for sure. Shooting off the dribble in transition threes. My ballhandling, too and the main thing that everybody is telling me to do is to get in the weight room. Got to get stronger. Got to get a bigger body. Mainly weight room and my three-point jump shot.
GopherHole: Minnesota is another school that you mentioned and they had a coaching change. What have you heard from the new staff?
Kendall Blue: I heard from the assistant coaches and everything. I haven’t had a chance to talk to Ben Johnson, but hopefully, the time will come and everything. I’m really interested in Minnesota. I would like to go there, if they offered me, so hopefully, the offer will come pretty soon.
GopherHole: I also know that you are also a really good student. How important is the education side in what school you pick?
Kendall Blue: Education is the main focus, really. Basketball, you can only go a certain way. You could be injured one day and never play again, so the education really is a key part. Me and my family have been talking about it and everything. The main focus is to just get a good education. Basketball is second.
GopherHole: I know that your family has a lot of basketball ties. We talked about that before. How important is that to have that family that knows the game and can help you with recruitment?
Kendall Blue: It helps a lot. They teach me key points, help me with recruitment. My mom was a Division I college basketball player. My dad was a Division I football player, so they teach me a lot of things, what coaches are going to ask you. Prepare to ask coaches questions about everything, so you can make the right decision. They give me key points to help throughout the year. It is really helpful.
GopherHole: What is it going to mean to walk on the court as freshman for your very first college game?
Kendall Blue: It’s going to be jitters. Hopefully, exciting jitters. The first college game, you got to show up and perform really good. Hopefully, I can get that feeling and it goes well.
GopherHole: East Ridge has had a very strong program the last several years. What are the expectations this upcoming season?
Kendall Blue: We lost a lot of seniors, but we have me and this other sophomore (Alex Mattes, who averaged 12.7 points per game) coming back next year. He’ll be a junior, so the expectation is still there to win sections and hopefully, win state. We haven’t won the two past sections, so that is the main focus right now.
GopherHole: To be honest, you are in one of the toughest sections and in a tough conference in the Suburban East. Do you think that helps you guys playing tough competition throughout the year?
Kendall Blue: Yes, our non-conference schedule next year is crazy. We basically play the top teams in the state next year, so that could help us with our section really easily. Just preparing for tougher competition and then when we go to our section, it will help us a lot.
GopherHole: You look like you have grown a little bit, to be honest, since the last time I saw you. What are you up to height and weight-wise right now?
Kendall Blue: Right now, 6-6, about 185. I have been in the weight room a lot. Just going on a diet and everything
GopherHole: Have you talked to your doctors about whether you have another inch or two in there?
Kendall Blue: Last time I checked, they said I was supposed to be 6-7, 6-8, so a couple of more inches.
GopherHole: Do you think that will help you because one of your strengths is that you are a wing player and if you did get to be 6-7 or 6-8, that would be an advantage for you on the perimeter?
Kendall Blue: It would help a lot to just shoot over smaller defenders. I already do that, but a few inches wouldn’t hurt me. That would help a lot.