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Link: The cult of Eric Bledsoe

Eric Bledsoe has become quite the rising star in the NBA.

Although he plays just 18.4 minutes a game and plays behind NBA All-Star Chris Paul, Bledsoe has gained somewhat of a cult following for his freakish athletic talents, defensive prowess and hard play. As a story on ESPN.com explains, Bledsoe has become a “cult hero,” a player that basketball junkies would pay to see more of because of his relentless and efficient play.

Here’s an excerpt from the story:

Seven months later, Bledsoe has a devoted, even fanatical following. He’s the rare NBA player who is a darling to both statheads who value data and basketball mystics who live for the improbable. The overlap between “daredevilish” and “efficient” in the NBA Venn Diagram is a small space, but Bledsoe resides there — and his niche appeal is becoming something much larger.

Teammates nicknamed Bledsoe “Mini LeBron” and Chris Paul’s father calls him “Little Hercules,” though the best prototype for Bledsoe might be Dwyane Wade, a relentless, slashing attacker who leverages his strength to exploit his quickness, and vice versa.

Like Wade, Bledsoe takes a ton of chances on both ends of the floor, but has both the instincts and athleticism to offset that risk. Gamble in the passing lane, but come up empty? No worries, because Bledsoe can recover, even if it means absorbing a bump or three in traffic as he races to catch up with his man at the rack. If Bledsoe’s bet is successful — andnobody in the NBA has had more success this season – then it pays out.

Bledsoe is averaging 9.9 points and 3.0 assists in his limited opportunities this season. As his playing time increase, so should those numbers.

For more on Bledsoe, check out Hoopspeak.com’s detailed breakdown of Bledsoe’s game.

Also, there are a few other stories on former Wildcats worth checking out this week. I’ve linked them below. As always, check out our NBA page for the latest on all of John Calipari’s players in the NBA.