During last week’s National Basketball Players Association’s Top 100 Camp, Josh Leblanc of Madison Prep was lurking, waiting for the right moment.
When an opponent began to drive from the left side of the lane during the camp’s 5-on-5 competition at the University of Virginia, Leblanc patiently waited, soared in one step from the right and easily swatted the shot out of bounds.
Leblanc, a member of the eventual undefeated camp champion, received plenty of praise from his teammates and coach Rajon Rando, a veteran guard with the Chicago Bulls.
“It’s natural,” Leblanc said of his ability to block shots. “When I couldn’t do anything else, that’s what I did. It’s just something I like to do.”
His ability to control the lane area with his shot-blocking prowess, aided by a 7-foot-1 wingspan, was among the chief attributes Leblanc displayed during last week’s collection of the nation’s top 100 seniors.
Based on a statistical formula used to assess the camp’s top offensive players, Leblanc, a 6-foot-7, 210-pound forward, finished second and had the second highest field goal percentage.
“It was a great learning experience,” he said of the camp run by former NBA player John Lucas. “I learned a lot on and off the court.”
Lucas certainly took notice of Leblanc’s relentless play, a trait that has catapulted him to four-star status and the state’s No. 2 ranking behind Scotlandville’s Ja’Vonte Smart.
“John Lucas said at end of the camp that he had a motor that you just don’t see these days,” Madison Prep coach Jeff Jones said. “When Josh left, I told him to make sure they said he was the hardest working kid out there.”
The opportunity to observe an offseason workout enabled new LSU coach Will Wade to get the Tigers into the mix for Leblanc’s services, while the first team Class 2A all-state selection said Texas A&M, UAB, Houston, Minnesota and Georgetown are also among his favorites.
Leblanc plans to commit Nov. 12 — his birthday — and could sign thereafter.
“When the summer started, it all hit me,” he said. “It’s crazy that something I used to dream about growing up is finally here. It’s just a blessing. This is a very big summer for me.”
The latest in a line of Madison Prep standouts, Leblanc has observed from some of the program’s pillars in Jarell Martin, Brandon Sampson and Josh Anderson to mold his own game that revolves his versatility.
Leblanc, regarded as a defensive force because of his rebounding and shot blocking, is also a capable ball handler and mid-range shooter. With an eye toward his future as a “stretch 4” forward or small forward, Leblanc’s worked to refine his dribbling and extend his range out to the 3-point line.
“I go by a motto that, if you don’t work, you don’t eat,” Leblanc said. “I try to outwork everybody, no matter how good they are or a size advantage they have on me.”
Leblanc stepped out of Anderson’s shadow in the postseason during Madison Prep’s run to a third consecutive state championship, producing a double-double (12 points, 16 rebounds) in the title game and earning Most Outstanding Player honors.
Leblanc, who averaged 14.8 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks, was also an All-Metro selection.
“I know the work’s got me to where I am now,” he said. “This is what I used to dream about as a kid.”