Blinn College in Brenham, Texas is known for having a Birdman in the late 1990s.
They will add a Lionheart to their collection of notable players this coming fall.
Vandebilt Catholic guard Lionheart Leslie announced this week that he has signed a National Letter of Intent to extend his playing career with Blinn.
He will begin playing this fall for the prestigious two-year junior college, which boasts Chris “Birdman” Anderson, Marcus Thornton and Cam Newton as its notable former student athletes.
Leslie, who is known by his friends and family as “Fuddy” said that he is excited to begin his collegiate career.
“I loved everything about Blinn, I really did,” Leslie said. “I went there for a visit and I immediately bonded with the people, the coaches and the players. Being there made me feel like I was at home. I definitely feel wanted there – feel like I’m surrounded by good people who will care about me.”
In Leslie, Blinn will be receiving the services of arguably the best prep player this area has seen in the past several seasons.
The 5-foot, 10-inch combo guard averaged 24 points per game for the Terriers in his senior season – a season that saw him lead Vandebilt to a 22-7 record and the district championship.
Winning is nothing new to Leslie.
The Terriers have won the district championship in each of his seasons seeing significant playing time.
Vandebilt also hasn’t lost a home game in the past three seasons under his watch, despite fielding a lineup that was vastly undersized.
Leslie was often the team’s center on defense, despite sometimes being the shortest player on the floor.
“Anything they needed me to do, I did it – it was all about the team,” Leslie said. “At Blinn, it will be the same thing. I will go there and do whatever they want for me to do.”
Playing with that chip on his shoulder is why he’s been successful.
It’s also why Leslie said he has been working out for countless hours a day this summer, running sometimes up to 10 miles per day with weights.
His body has transformed and he is noticeably more cut and muscular than he’s been in years past.
He said he has gained several pounds of muscle and has trimmed body fat off of his frame – all in an effort to ensure that he is ready for his first season with the Buccaneers, which competes in Region 14 of the NJCAA.
“I’m working hard right now – I don’ t want to wait until the last minute,” Leslie said. “I’ve been working on my speed and my endurance and my weight. I’ve been working on my shot, my dribbling, my footwork – just everything. … If people would see me now, they wouldn’t be able to tell it’s me. My body is so different.”
Leslie said he chose the junior college after fielding interest from a handful of Division I programs across the Southeast.
He said he plans to play for the Buccaneers for two seasons and then head to a major college program – a road similar to that traveled by Thibodaux High School standout Shavon Coleman, who played two seasons of JUCO ball before signing with LSU.
Blinn is known for sending players to the higher level of competition. A total of six players on last season’s Buccaneers’ team have transferred to different programs since the start of summer.
“That is exactly what I am going there to try and do – go there and play well and try and get to that higher level,” Leslie said. “They even told me something about being able to go there and take summer classes and I’d maybe be able to be there just one year. Whatever it is – one year or two, I’m going to go do it, work hard and play well and get to that next level.”
Vandebilt Catholic point guard Lionheart Leslie soars through the air for a right-handed layup during a game this past season. Leslie has been one of the top players in the Tri-parish area for the past three seasons. For his efforts, he earned a college scholarship to Blinn College in Texas. Leslie said he hopes to shine at Blinn and then take his talents to a bigger school in the future.