Spring Scouting: James Blackmon Jr.

(Photo credit: Jamie Owens of J. Scott Sports)

Much of Inside the Hall’s focus over the past two weekends at the Spiece Run ‘N Slam and adidas May Classic has been on Indiana’s two commitments for the class of 2014, James Blackmon Jr. and Trey Lyles.

It was our first in-person look at both prospects. After scouting five games, here are our thoughts on the 6-foot-1, 175-pound Blackmon Jr.:

– Wired to score: Blackmon Jr. is aggressive both from the perimeter and attacking the basket. In four of the five games we watched, the talented freshman wasted no time looking for his shot inside of the offense. Although he took his share of shots, there were few that were forced and he shot a very high percentage. He’s capable of connecting from well beyond the 3-point line, has an efficient release and nice mechanics.

– Off the pick: One thing that Blackmon Jr. does well is use screens near the top of the key. Once he comes off a screen on the dribble, he doesn’t need much room get his shot off and is nearly as good shooting off the dribble as he is off the catch. This should bode well for what Tom Crean is looking to do with his future teams at Indiana.

– Capable distributor: In a pool play game against The Family at the Spiece Run ‘N Slam, Blackmon Jr. got on an early run from the perimeter and the defense adjusted to slow him down. The 15-year-old quickly shifted his focus to facilitator and looked for open teammates in the lane off the drive. He’s currently playing more of a two-guard role with Spiece Indy Heat, but he’s capable of filling in at the point when needed.

– Student of the game: One common theme with Blackmon Jr. and Lyles is that both players have been taught the nuances of basketball from an early age. Blackmon Jr. rarely looks to make a flashy play, but instead makes fundamentally sound decisions.

– Athleticism and strength: These are the two areas where Blackmon Jr. is still developing. He’s an above average athlete, but doesn’t possess a “blow by” first step. It doesn’t seem to affect his game at this point because he’s talented and intelligent enough to find openings and score. Strength wise, his upper body is still developing, but he’s got plenty of time to bulk up and playing up a year in AAU should only help him.

– In his own words: “I’m just trying to get quicker and stronger. I already know how it’s going to be next year. It was a good test for me my freshman year, so I just want to come back even better sophomore year.”

HD video of Blackmon Jr. from the adidas May Classic after the jump

  • Anonymous

     Probably my favorite IU commit we have right now. Him and Lyles really impress me with the maturity they bring towards the game. Both seem to understand how to play, simply put. I’m very excited to be an IU fan right now and student. I have two more years to watch this thing unfold in front of my eyes before I revert back to the ole tv days. 

  • Matt21

    Can you see Blackmon and Yogi play making on the court at the same time? Crap man it’s going to be insane.  If this kid doesn’t have a quick first step then the game must have changed a lot this summer because I’ve seen the kid blow by people without them even knowing. 

     

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KCZUX4SBFXXM2GEHVKTVKOIYTY Aaron

    I’m also very excited about Blackmon.

    But… can someone explain his hair?  Whats happening in the middle of it?

  • http://www.insidethehall.com/ Alex Bozich

    It wasn’t a knock on James at all and yes he gets past people, but I would consider Yogi to have a “blow by” first step and at this point Blackmon isn’t quite as explosive. He even said himself that he’d like to become quicker.

  • RobD

     Anybody know what “spiece” means? Stands for? Origin?

  • IUeconAlum

    His fundamentals are unbelievable for his age. His dad has done a great job with him.

  • Plane1972

    Spiece is (or was?) a huge sporting goods store in Indy run by a major IU fan (alum?).  

  • http://www.insidethehall.com/ Alex Bozich

    Named after Tom Spiece, who owns sporting good stores in Indiana, I believe.

  • Anonymous

    This is correct. 

  • IUreturn

     Really excited about Blackmon. His fundamentals and stroke are undeniable and super consistent. Good rotation and the same trajectory on every shot, even with a defender closing out he won’t rush his form, he can stroke. 

    He is going to excel in TC’s offense. With Yogi around and Remy we will have the guys to get in the lane and find him. Would love to see him keep working on his driving game as he could become near unstoppable in HS and AAU if that happens. 

  • IUreturn

     Really excited about Blackmon. His fundamentals and stroke are undeniable and super consistent. Good rotation and the same trajectory on every shot, even with a defender closing out he won’t rush his form, he can stroke. 

    He is going to excel in TC’s offense. With Yogi around and Remy we will have the guys to get in the lane and find him. Would love to see him keep working on his driving game as he could become near unstoppable in HS and AAU if that happens. 

  • BFowler

     I like that comparison, but he reminds me more of AJ Guyton based solely on shot-making abilities and size.

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