Talk about sick irony!
It doesn’t getting any crazier than NC State’s Julius Hodge being traded for Maryland’s Steve Blake.
The Denver Nuggets need some breathing space from luxury-tax territory. The Milwaukee Bucks need backcourt scoring to counter their injury crisis.
That’s why the teams, according to NBA front-office sources, are combining on a trade featuring Earl Boykins that will be announced later Thursday.
Now 10 games into the Allen Iverson Era, Denver has agreed to send Boykins and little-used forward Julius Hodge to the Bucks for guard Steve Blake.
As you probably remember, Blake and Hodge engaged in some ‘legendary’ battles in the early part of the decade that included an incident where Hodge blatantly elbowed/punched Blake in the back of the head at the end of a fast break during a game in College Park during Hodge’s freshman season. Hodge was subsequently suspended for the next game by the ACC. Wolfpackers will also remember that Hodge’s actions were positioned as retribution for a “Chris Paul-esque” move that Blake pulled on earlier in the season in Raleigh.
There are A LOT of names that NC State CHOSE not to recruit/offer during Herb Sendek’s tenure that ultimately haunted Herb and the program – Josh Howard, PJ Tucker, Craig Dawson, Chris Wilcox, David West, the nudge of Ivan Wagner out the door, and others. But no name had such a large, direct – and ironic – impact as Steve Blake.
Blake ultimately participated in more victories at Maryland than any player who has ever worn the Terps’ uniform. This included his participation as the floor leader for two Final Four teams and a National Championship team when Terps defeated Indiana in 2002.
It didn’t have to end up that that way for NC State, Maryland or the ACC.
Early in Blake’s high school career he actually wanted to play at NC State. You see, Blake grew up near/in Miami, FL modeling his game after the former all-time assist leader in college basketball – NC State’s Chris Corchiani. (Didn’t Blake play for Gabe Corchiani down there in like Hilieah Falls or something?) NC State Head Coach, Herb Sendek, decided that Blake wasn’t NC State material (much like former ACC POY, Josh Howard at Wake Forest) and elected not to pursue the young point guard.
The rest…as they say…is history! Obviously, very big history for the Maryland Basketball Program and sickly ironic history for NC State’s in ight of the fact that Coach Sendek’s biggest struggle to elevate the Wolfpack’s program stemmed from Sendek’s annual inability to land a top notch point guard that he coveted. Who needed Steve Blake when you could get Cliff Crawford? It is a question that only a few still ponder today.
* Related entry from Dave Sez (Link)
* Randomly related entry (Link)
* What happens when Chris Paul is suspended (Link)