76ers Blog: A Tough Age for Vander Blue
Posted 10/14/2013 1:12:00 PM

'I've got that dog in  me' - Vander Blue

Vander Blue acknowledged that being a young player in the NBA comes with some challenges.  Tonight at 7:00 PM against the Brooklyn Nets, he and the 76ers will will play their 4th of 7 pre-season games.  The passing of the midway point of the exhibition schedule serves as a reminder that the regular season - while still more than 2 weeks away from starting - is steadily approaching, and that a roster needs to be put in place..

The greatest area of healthy depth for the Sixers is currently in the backcourt, a spot where Blue is trying to capitalize on the playing time he's being given. Blue, a rookie from Marquette, delivered his most productive effort of the pre-season Friday against the Boston Celtics.  He scored 8 points (3-4 FG) in over 14 minutes of action.

'I'm starting to get a feel for the NBA game, and take advantage of every opportunity I get on the court,' Blue said following this morning's shoot around.  'I know it's hard.  I'm young, I'm a rookie.  Just trying to find myself.'

Blue sounded very self-aware that his age presents obstacles in the context of the NBA, and that - in order to overcome some of the disadvantages of youth - he has to further develop a key trait.

'Confidence is everything.  I'm going against Evan Turner every day, playing guard against the Celtics' Gerald Wallace.  I'm only 21 years old,' said Blue.  He hit the milestone in July.  'If you lose your confidence, it's kind of hard to be successful at this level.  The coaches have helped me a lot.  My confidence level is where it should be right now.'

Blue is coming off a breakout junior season with Marquette; he increased his scoring average by more than 6 points per game, generating just under 15 points per game for the Golden Eagles.  The Madison, WI native received a pre-draft workout from his native-state Milwaukee Bucks, but ultimately was passed over by all 30 NBA teams in June's draft. 

'I wouldn't want it no other way. My whole life, I've always been a guy to have a chip on their shoulder, or try to prove something.  Can't control the draft. I'm just glad the Sixers gave me a chance to play professionally.  That's why I take every day like it's my last. That's why I have the chip on my shoulder, that dog in me.'

Blue has been used off the bench in all 3 of the Sixers' pre-season games.  Pictured above to the right, Blue is guarding former Temple G Khalif Wyatt.  Fellow rookie G Michael Carter-Williams is looking on; it was Carter-Williams' Syracuse Orange that elimiated Blue and Marquette from the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship tournament this past March in the Elite 8.


- F Thaddeus Young did some quick number crunching at shoot around in order to stress a point to the 76ers' youth-filled roster.  He told his teammates that their opponent tonight - the loaded and deep Brooklyn Nets - boasts a veteran core of players that has combined to score roughly 100,000 career points.  His math was pretty good, accounting for the approximate point totals of the following Nets players: Kevin Garnett (over 25,000 PT), Paul Pierce (over 24,000 PT),  Jason Terry (over 17,000 PT), Joe Johnson (nearly 16,000 PT), Deron Williams (over 10,000 PT),  and Andrei Kirilenko (over 9,000 PT).  Brooklyn was able to acquire Garnett, Pierce, and Terry in a mega-trade with Boston this past summer.  Young took notice, saying, 'Those guys, they're in championship mode.  They're trying to build the best team possible.  Now is the time to just win championship after championship.'

- Even though the 76ers are in the process of becoming more familiar with their own offensive and defensive schemes at this stage of the preseason, the team - when readying for exhibition games - still does pay attention to the opposition.  F Thaddeus Young plans to use his working knowledge of the NBA to help the Sixers' preparations. Young said,   'I've been through a couple of rebuilding process so I pretty much know how every team is going to play.  It's about teaching the young guys what the tendencies are, how they play.  We know this game is going to be a big facilitate game.  They're a veteran team, they're not going to run a lot.  They're going to play in the half court most of the time.'  As far as the Sixers' half court offense is concerned, Young referred to it as being a work in progress for a club that has tried to push tempo through its first three exhibition games. 'It's still a lot of building going on.  But I think we're getting more comfortable each game.'


** Audio links located beneath image in upper right hand corner of article **

- G Vander Blue: One-on-one interview

- PF Thaddeus Young: On potential challenges Brooklyn Nets face following off-season personnel changes 

Posted By: Brian Seltzer  

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