San Bernardino (Calif.) Valley Community College standout Gerry Blakes is scheduled to be Arizona State's first official visitor of September starting on Thursday.
The Sun Devils and LSU Tigers have appeared to be the two front-runners in the recruitment but Blakes wants it made clear he's going to be diligent about making a decision.
"For me it's a once in a lifetime thing that will make or break my dream," Blakes said. "I want to know I'm putting myself in the right decision. It's definitely one of the biggest decisions I'm ever going to make so I want to pray on it and take my time and not be too fast.
"I have interest from a lot of schools now and the small amount of flame I had is now becoming a fire. I was going to make my decision now but I might wait and set up more visits. Just wait and take it slower and pray on it. Initially I was definitely trying to sign in November but I'm not sure now."
Blakes, a versatile 6-foot-4 guard who was committed to Hawaii out of Inglewood (Calif.) in the 2010 class before not qualifying academically, said his game has continued to evolve since those days, even if he felt he was somewhat overlooked at the time.
"I'd like to say it's matured," Blakes said. "It had to because of adversity. All the odds have been against me. I've always had a voice in my head telling me I can do it and be whatever I want to be. I just listen to that. I've never had an opportunity to showcase my skills. but every time I'm on a big stage I perform as if I've been there before.
"I'm just a normal kid from the inner city so I put all of myself into one dream to see what I can get out of it. I have other plans if it doesn't go my way but I'm determined to give everything I have to do this and being a real student of the game, watching certain players to pick up everything I can."
Coached at San Bernardino Valley by former ASU player Quincy Brewer, Blakes earned first-team all-league honors last season with averages of 16.5 points and 4.0 rebounds. He hit 41 percent from the field, 33.3 percent from 3-point range and 75 percent from the free throw line. His team finished 22-9, losing in the semifinals of the Southern California regional.
"I'm a definite point guard, a scoring point guard," Blakes said. "That's what I label myself as because I see the floor and facilitate. I have been working on my leadership. Usually I never took that extra step to be the point guard. I always trying to score. But being that I can almost score when I want to, I just get my team involved before I involve myself."
Blakes should have a good idea about how his current top two schools stack up by the end of the week.
"I just finished my visit to LSU," he said. "It was a nice trip. I got to play with the players and see the facilities and everything they have to offer there. I liked it.
"I've been talking to ASU for a minute and I'm sure I'm going to like it when I go there (Thursday). They're on my pretty tough, letting me know how they feel about me but I'm ultimately going to make my decision when I get back home. I think they want me to commit when I go there but I'm going to back home and take it all in, compare the two and just not move so fast about the whole decision. I want to be smart and not immature about it."
Colorado, Iowa, Saint Mary's and Texas A&M are others who have offered according to Blakes, who was a standout at the Junior College All-American showcase in Las Vegas in July, which ASUDevils.com attended.