How local kid Blake Wesley burst onto the Notre Dame scene – The Athletic

SOUTH BEND, Ind. “Have you seen the advertisement?” Blake Wesley saw the ad. For a while there, it seems, people messaged him about it every day, sometimes with a clip and always with a question: Is that you? Yes, answers Blake Wesley. That’s me. It’s a shot of the back of his jersey, i.e. he’s standing up during the dramatic slow-motion intros, i.e. he dives and hits a 3-pointer and that he dives again and it is he who is held aloft by the students, pumping his fist after landing a big shot to help beat Kentucky. All in the name of promoting ticket sales for Notre Dame’s men’s basketball program, via the many and varied exploits of a freshman whose home is about eight miles from campus.

It’s not all the time that this place celebrates such a shameless freshman. It’s especially unusual when the list has no shortage of long-in-the-tooth options to select instead. But it was decided, months ago, by people who decide such things, that these are not usual times. There’s a kid from South Bend on the team. He’s very talented and very watchable, in different ways than most Notre Dame players lately, and he may not be around for long. The program needed a boost of visibility after a few lean years, and still does after unearthing itself this season and reaching the No. 1 spot in its league in mid-February. So Blake Wesley is on the billboards. Blake Wesley jerseys are in the crowd. Blake Wesley, and pretty much only Blake Wesley, is in a commercial.

“I don’t even think they did that with Demetrius,” Wesley said after a recent workout, referring to Demetrius Jackson, the latest verifiable hometown star to come through the Purcell Pavilion. “It’s crazy.”

Add it to the ever-growing pile of absurdity.

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