Despite not being selected in last week's NBA Draft, Wayne Blackshear remains steadfast in his belief that his professional future lies with the sport's biggest league, and not overseas.
"I'm not thinking about playing overseas or playing in a developmental league," Blackshear told The Chicago Tribune. "I'm going to make an NBA roster. I know what I can do and what I have to offer. I have to stay focused and be in the right mindset. I believe in myself."
Blackshear heard from a number of teams who told him they might select him during the latter portion of the draft's second round, but he wasn't surprised to see the evening end without hearing his name called. One of the teams who communicated with him the most was the San Antonio Spurs, who quickly inked Blackshear to a free agent deal last Friday. He'll play for San Antonio in the Utah and Las Vegas summer leagues this month.
"I had an extremely great workout with the Spurs," said Blackshear. "The Spurs were calling my agent right away. I'm going to show them everything I've got."
Despite winning more NCAA Tournament games than any Louisville player before him, Blackshear is still viewed by some as the five-star McDonald's All-American who never blossomed into a full-on star. Though he doesn't regret it, Blackshear says part of the reason for that is because he was so willing to put team before self.
"I sacrificed my game a lot at Louisville for team success," Blackshear said. "I tried to fit in too much. I really couldn't show what I could do. I don't regret it. I won a national championship. Played in two Final Fours and scored more than 1,000 points in my career. But I wasn't myself."
Though he was one of the most-discussed Cardinal players in each of the last four seasons for Louisville, Blackshear never opened up much about the talk or the debates that surrounded him. Now, however, he seems more willing to reveal how much that stuff weighed on him.
"Going through everything I did at Louisville made me a stronger person," said Blackshear, who earned a degree in communications. "Playing for coach Pitino ... it was tough. He wants to get the best out of you. He pushed me to new heights and made me a tougher person.
"But I believe I should have had more opportunities to show what I could do. I had to become a spot-up shooter in college — that's not me. I learned to keep my mouth shut and keep moving forward."
The road may have been longer and taken a few more turns than he expected, but Blackshear still expects it to end up in the same place he's always dreamed about.
"It's been a long road, but I'm getting my opportunity," Blackshear said. "I've had a lot of ups and downs at Louisville, but I've been blessed. Everyone who knows me knows what I can do on the court. I was one of the best players in the country coming out of high school.
"I have no doubts I'm going to make the (Spurs) roster."