Former Bulldog And University Of Vermont Standout Now Playing For Iowa Energy
DES MOINES, IA–Some believe that playing professional basketball in something other than the NBA or in Europe isn’t worth mentioning. However, GMC Hoops disagrees. The site has already noted the exploits of former Colonia High School and Kean University standout, Vinnie Darpino, who is now playing in the Atlantic Coast Professional Basketball League. To pursue the game that you love while getting a chance to see other parts of the country while also getting paid sure beats working in an office cubicle.
Marqus Blakely is another former standout from the Greater Middlesex Conference, who is pursuing his passion at the professional level. Blakely, who led Metuchen High School to its first GMC Blue Division title since 1987, its first appearance in the GMCT Championship Game since 1988, and first sectional final appearance since 1988, is now playing for the Iowa Energy of the NBA’s Developmental League. The Energy is the minor league team for both the Chicago Bulls and the Phoenix Suns. Blakely actually started out in the NBA with the Los Angeles Clippers.
After making a solid impression in the Vegas Summer League, Blakely signed a two year, partially guaranteed contract with the Clippers. In Vegas over the summer, Blakely averaged 7.0 points per game, 4.8 rebounds per game, and 2.0 steals per game while shooting over 65 percent. He ended up being the last cut made by the Clippers, and was eventually drafted by the Bakersfield Jam in the NBA D-League Draft. The Metuchen native, who had a tremendous career at the University of Vermont, was projected as high as third on the draft board, but wound up being selected as the 12th pick by the Jam. His high flying routine appeared to be a great fit for the Jam, which is the minor league affiliate of both the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers.
At Bakersfield, which is currently in fourth place in the Western Conference, and recently clinched a playoff spot, Blakely played in 25 games including 13 starts. He averaged 23.2 minutes per game, 13.2 points per game, 6.1 rebounds per game, 1.7 steals per game, 1.4 assists per game, and 0.6 blocks per game. Blakely shot 121 of 220 from the floor for 55 percent, and connected on 81 of 133 from the foul line for just under 61 percent. On January 25th, Blakely was acquired by the Energy along with Stanley Robinson in separate trades. Robinson was acquired in a trade with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. Both are arguably the most talented players in the D-League.
At the time of the trade, the Iowa Energy was 19-7. Since then, it has won 16 of 22 games including 15 of 19 since a 1-2 start right after the trade. In those 22 games, Blakely has played in each contest including six starts. He is averaging 27 minutes per game, 17.0 points per game, 6.3 rebounds per game, 1.2 steals per game, 0.9 blocks per game, and 0.8 assists per game. The Metuchen native has made 151 of 219 shots from the floor for just under 69 percent, and 70 of 103 shots from the charity stripe for 68 percent. In total, Blakely has played in 47 games including 19 starts, and is averaging 25.0 minutes, 14.8 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.5 steals, 1.1 assists, and 0.8 blocks per game. He has connected on 272 of 439 shots from the floor for 62 percent, and 151 of 236 from the foul line for 64 percent.