Josh Newman, SNYNets.com
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — As the Philadelphia Police Department’s investigation into an alleged sexual assault at the Four Seasons Center City continues, Andray Blatche, who was questioned in the investigation and whose suite it allegedly took place in, remained mum on the particulars as the Nets returned to practice on Thursday afternoon.
“Right now, it’s still a legal matter,” a weary-looking Blatche said at the PNY Center after practice. “I can’t really have any comments about it, but I feel everything will be resolved and everybody will know what’s going on sooner or later.”
According to multiple reports, Blatche was questioned early Tuesday morning after a still-anonymous 21-year-old woman called the police around 3:30 a.m. and alleged that she was raped. Hours earlier, Blatche was out with friends at “Delilah’s,” a gentleman’s club located on Philadelphia’s Spring Garden street. Blatche, it is said, was celebrating the fact his $854,389 non-guaranteed contract with the Nets became fully guaranteed on Monday evening.
In an exclusive interview with the ABC affiliate in Philadelphia on Thursday morning, the woman said she believed she was drugged and then raped by a member of Blatche’s entourage. Blatche himself, was in the suite, but not in the actual room where the alleged incident took place.
Police investigators ruled Blatche out as a suspect in the rape almost immediately.
“When the truth comes out, everybody will realize what really happened,” Blatche said. “In the meantime, I can’t have much comment on it. Ya’ll gonna hear the truth sooner or later. It’s just a bad situation with what someone would say. When the time comes and I can talk about it, you’ll realize it’s not what you think.”
There has been no indication that charges are forthcoming as the investigation continues. In the meantime, Blatche continues to play well.
In the middle of the hoopla Tuesday in Philadelphia, Blatche was available to play that night as he scored 20 points and hauled in seven rebounds in a 109-89 blowout against the 76ers. The win was the fourth in a row and six out of the last seven for interim head coach P.J. Carlesimo and his Nets.
That game is a prime example of why Blatche’s contract is now guaranteed for the rest of the season. In his last five games, Blatche is averaging 12.6 points and 8.6 rebounds in 21 minutes off the bench. After the win streak, the Nets are suddenly surging and are now trail the New York Knicks by just 3.5 games for the Atlantic division lead.
The Nets will look to make it five in a row when they host the lowly Phoenix Suns at Barclays Center on Friday evening.
For the season, Blatche is averaging 11.3 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. Both of those numbers are better than his career averages of 10.0 points and 5.5 rebounds in seven-plus seasons.
“He’s been good since he’s been here,” Deron Williams said. “It’s unfortunate what happened, but it’s behind him now and hopefully we can move on from that. He looks pretty focused to me, he looked focused last game.”
Whether or not charges are filed against Blatche, Tuesday’s incident is another mark against a very talented, yet often enigmatic player.
Since being drafted 49th overall in 2005 out of South Kent School, the 6-foot-11 26-year-old has been shot in the chest during an attempted carjacking, arrested for soliciting sex from an undercover police officer and arrested on charges of reckless driving and driving on a suspended license for the third time.
Tired of the antics and perceived laziness, the Wizards waived Blatche via the amnesty provision last July. After an entire summer with no suitors, then-head coach Avery Johnson gave Blatche a chance, signing him to the one-year, veteran’s minimum deal in September. In addition, Blatche had to go by a strict set of rules set by Johnson.
Along the way, before Johnson was fired on Dec. 27, Blatche called the Nets a ‘first-class organization.’ Avery Johnson said he was pleased with the things Blatche had done on and off the court.
“He was one of the guys that gave me another chance,” Blatche said of Johnson. “He came to watch me work out, he met me in Houston. We had somewhat of a close relationship as far as what was expected and trying to help me succeed.”
Now, as the Nets seek to continue their winning ways, this controversy involving Blatche is an unwanted distraction. Judging by the win in Philadelphia, though, it may be one that won’t stop the Nets from continuing their hot streak.
Josh Newman is SNYNets.com’s Field Reporter. Follow him on Twitter for up to the minute news and banter on all things related to the Brooklyn Nets and the NBA