Blake Peters still a winner despite missing out on ESPY 'best play' award
Blake Peters will always have the memories.
The Evanston freshmen hoops star’s bid for an ESPY in the ”best play” category recently came up short, but the four days he spent in Los Angeles looking the part won’t be soon forgotten.
Peters was nominated for the award on the strength of the 80-foot buzzer-beater he swished to lead the Wildkits past Maine South at Beardsley Gym late last season, a miracle that instantly landed him a spot on the nightly SportsCenter Top 10.
“When I walked in the room, it was surreal,” Peters told the Chicago Tribune of being at the award’s show. “I didn’t get the experience of winning but I didn’t have to get up there and make a speech. Being there was winning in its own way.”
Being recognized and saluted by the likes of Heisman Trophy-winner Baker Mayfield and fellow Illinois icon Jalen Brunson weren’t too bad either, Peters said.
“Baker Mayfield knew who I was, and he complimented my shot,” he said. “Jalen Brunson said he remembered playing in (Beardsley) Gym. Knowing he was on the court where I made the shot was really cool.”
Peters, who lost out for “best play” to Notre Dame women’s basketball star Arike Ogunbowale, said his path to national glory started soon after he bagged the game-winner against Maine South in late January.
“Coach (Mike Ellis) told me after I made the shot it may be ESPY-worthy and I should tweet about it while everyone was talking,” he told the Tribune.
Not long after that, the school’s communications team got in on the act and started promoting the moment for the ESPY stage. Peters now refers to the sequence as the “final four” moment of his first year of high school.
But since returning to Evanston, it’s been all business for Peters.
“I try to lock myself into a gym,” he said. “It’s my happy place. It’s just me, a basketball and a hoop.”