(Patuxent Photo by Alex Stawinski )
During the summer he was the leading scorer on his AAU team. For his powerhouse high school program, he’s the ultimate “glue guy.” No matter the level of competition, and no matter the quantifiable contributions, Cedric Blossom’s do-it-all game has made him a favorite of coaches and players alike.
Blossom’s versatility also made him a prime mid-major recruit, with Bryant, Dartmouth, Holy Cross, Loyola, Morgan State, New Hampshire and Towson among the programs that expressed interest in the 6-foot-6, 225-pound forward. For the Montrose Christian co-captain and Columbia resident, one school seemingly always stood out above the rest.
“Morgan State first saw me on the AAU circuit, probably this summer actually,” Blossom said. “That’s where the head coach basically told me he fell in love with me. He said he needed me on the team.”
Blossom accepted Todd Bozeman’s offer last weekend, giving the Bears coach someone who “does all the little things to help you win.”
“He draws charges, is an outstanding rebounder, he makes the extra pass, and he plays a very unselfish role and blends in really well with a lot of good players,” said Montrose Christian coach Stu Vetter. “I think he’s the type of player that’s going to go in and do whatever the coaches ask him to do. He’ll take the tough defensive assignment, he’ll rebound the ball. He’s very athletic. He’ll do a lot of things that will help make Morgan State a better team.”
Blossom started his high school career at Hammond before transferring to Montrose Christian for his junior year. To foot the tuition bill at the Rockville private school, Blossom’s parents took second jobs, ensuring that their son would compete against the top high school competition in the country.
“I really felt like because I wanted to play basketball at the Division I level, I would have to play great competition on a daily basis,” Blossom said. “Montrose is definitely the highest level. It definitely speaks for itself. From Howard County basketball to Montrose Christian basketball, it made me a better player and person.”
With Crusader Nation during the summer, Blossom was counted on as the team’s go-to scorer. But with the Mustangs, Blossom was a supporting player on a team that featured Tyrone Johnson (Villanova), Tyler Hubbard (Loyola) and Justin Anderson (Virginia), among others. While his statistical impact hasn’t been overwhelming, the intangibles Blossom brings are immeasurable.
“The key factor is him starting just about every game in the two years he’s been at Montrose,” Vetter said. “Look at the talent he’s been with. Because he does all the little things necessary to win, he’s been in our top seven for two years. Last year we had three players graduate, and they’re all playing Division I basketball. Now we’re playing with a full team of Division I basketball players. He definitely distinguished himself.”
The Bears first popped up on Blossom’s radar during his junior season thanks to a conversation with his godmother, a proud Morgan alum. A self-professed “devout Christian” that’s exceedingly close to his father – a pastor – and mother, Blossom thought more and more about the benefits of staying close to home for college. A visit earlier this month to Morgan was the final push he needed toward making a commitment to the Bears.
“When I went to the Morgan-Coppin game, the atmosphere had me written all over it,” Blossom said. “I had visited other schools but didn’t really feel at home. At Morgan, I felt like part of the family. Honestly, I believed it was the best decision for me.”
Playing for the Mustangs – currently 16-2 and ranked No. 11 in the nation by ESPN.com – has made Blossom accustomed to winning. While the Bears are struggling mightily this season, Blossom hopes for a future filled with MEAC titles and postseason appearances. Starting next fall, Blossom plans to do everything in his power to guide the Bears back to the top of their conference standings.
“Whatever environment I’m in, I’m always going to give 100 percent,” Blossom said. “Throughout my life, I’ve been through experiences where I’ve been told that I wasn’t able to do something. That’s part of my story, going from Hammond to Montrose. I had people telling me, who I respected, that I won’t be able to play at that level. That really motivated me. I just kept pushing myself until I was able to move into the starting lineup and move into the rotation. I’m just making my game stronger every day. Probably the strongest aspect of my game is when I get motivated, I’m hard to stop.”