After monster junior season, Blackmon Jr. looks forward to big summer

  • 04/24/2013 8:39 am in

IPSAC110061aIndiana will have several capable scorers on its roster next season and a few good outside shooters. But the Hoosiers will likely lack a true all-around scorer who can create offense in a multitude of ways.

That’s what they’ll get when James Blackmon Jr. arrives on campus with the class of 2014. Blackmon Jr., an Indiana commit currently attending Bishop Luers High School in Fort Wayne, is a lethal offensive threat, and he can create from nearly anywhere on the court.

Blackmon Jr.’s outside shooting continues to improve — he was 10-of-23 from beyond the arc in four games at the Nike EYBL session one in Los Angeles last weekend — and he has always possessed to ability to get to the rim and score. When Blackmon Jr. gets to Bloomington, the ability to shoot the 3-pointer could be what sets him apart.

“The 3-point shot is always something I’ve been good at, probably one of the best parts of my game,” Blackmon Jr. told Inside the Hall. “I think at IU I’ll be an all-around scorer and my 3-point shot will be something that people will know me for.”

If there was any doubt Blackmon Jr. has fully recovered from the torn ACL he suffered in February 2012, he wiped those away with a terrific junior season. Blackmon Jr. averaged 33.4 points per game and led Luers to a sectional championship.

Last weekend in Los Angeles in front of Tom Crean and assistant coach Kenny Johnson, he averaged 19.0 points and 4.8 rebounds in four games and shot 53 percent from the field.

He said he’s still working a bit on his explosiveness, but otherwise feels good about his game.

“I’m pretty healthy there,” Blackmon Jr. said of his knee, “but there’s always things that I look for to improve because if I’m not working on my knee strength it can always happen again. I always try to keep that in mind, that I have to keep doing things that prevent injury.”

Blackmon Jr., ranked 47th by ESPN.com in the 2014 class, made his college decision all the way back in September of 2010. Now that he’s committed, though, he’s tried to play the role of recruiter when he sees other Indiana targets at various AAU events.

The Hoosiers are currently targeting Dante Exum, Theo Pinson and Goodluck Okonoboh, among others, in that class.

“Me and Theo Pinson are actually kind of good friends and every time I see him I just see what he’s thinking about it and just throw some more details in there,” Blackmon Jr. said. “I really don’t know [if he’ll end up at Indiana]. I feel like he’s looking at his options and he knows that IU’s a good choice, so I think it’ll be in his top for sure.”

Blackmon Jr.’s father, James Blackmon Sr., will reportedly accept the coaching job at his alma mater, Marion High School, and is expected to take James Jr. and his younger brother, Vijay, with him.

“I don’t really know if we’re going for sure yet,” Blackmon Jr. said. “If that happens, then that’s just something I’ll have to go for and accept the change. I think it’ll be a good change if that happens.”

Filed to:

  • MillaRed

    9th in the country in scoring as a junior = ranking #47 in 2014 class. Guess I never was really good at math. 7 of the players ahead of him are seniors.

  • Evansville Hoosier

    If Blackmon stays in the gym, with the stroke he already has, he could be considered one of the best shooters in IU history just like Jordy was.

  • KevOMG

    This is the same thing I’ve been wondering, why the snub on the ranking? One ITH follower said his injury kept him from getting better looks and less viewage = lower ranking.

  • Evansville Hoosier

    Also, he hasn’t been playing extremely elite competition and takes about half his teams shots, I guess they’re just saying a lot of guys could do that with that many possessions.

    But this is EYBL; elite teammates, elite opponents, and recruiters and scouters everywhere. If he keeps putting up these types of numbers or close to them on the AAU circuit, his ranking will climb.

  • calbert40

    Because Cal didn’t recruit him?

  • calbert40

    There has been some discussion on here of late suggesting that Blackmon has been wavering regarding his commitment to IU. I know recruits can tell everyone what they want to hear, but his responses don’t sound like a player who is questioning his decision to come play here.

    And I hope they go to Marion this year. Should be better competition at a 4A public school, and my friend is the varsity coach at a conference opponent…so I will go watch him and maybe pick his brain on his scouting report!! Sweet!

  • Benhyoung14

    He’s already committed. The recruiting sites can’t have a committed recruit ranked high….nothing to talk about.

  • CreamandCrimson

    I absolutely love James Blackmon’s game. In my opinion, he was one of the 2 or 3 best players in the state last season, irregardless of class. He will be an immediate impact player from day one at IU and I think if he continues to perform well while recruiting other 2014 IU targets, he will be bringing a couple of other elite guys to Bloomington with him.

  • MillaRed

    With the ties his dad has with Indiana high school hoops etc I just do not see how Jr. decommitting helps that family out in the big picture.

  • kewaynes

    From what I’ve heard of the percentages he shoots, this is an invalid argument

  • HoosierCruz

    I can’t WAIT to see this dude in candy stripes. Smoothest shooting stroke this state has seen since Alford left.

  • Evansville Hoosier

    he has become a lot more efficient, but it still doesn’t explain away the weaker competition argument. I mean, 47 in the country is no slouch. ESPN is definitely recognizing he has talent. But, like I said, if he continues to put numbers like this up at EYBL, he’ll start drawing some impressive comparisons (I’m sticking with Kemba Walker til I hear a better alternative)

  • Evansville Hoosier

    I agree, and I’m agreeing with him. I think he’ll be a very good scorer who is known nationally for his shooting; we as Hoosier fans, and our opponents will know he is much more than that.

  • calbert40

    If you see it on the Twitter feed of someone who used to know Blackmon back in elementary school, it obviously must be accurate, right? Right?!

  • MillaRed

    He recently averaged 19 ppg in 4 games in L.A. against the nations best. I would say that’s the equivalent of 33 ppg against a weaker opponent. Especially when he shoots over 50%.

  • BlakeD1223

    Well played MIlla, well played.

  • BlakeD1223

    Is it 2014 yet?

  • IUMIKE1

    I’m sure the ncaa is conducting a seance at the very time I am typing this to see if Sr’s aunt’s 2nd cousin by marriage, or anybody else that had ever spoken to any of his ancestors, to see if they might have bought a bumper sticker or buggy emblem. Prior decisions tell us that there must be a full time person on staff able to conduct these type of things. No other explanation for some of the decisions they hand down.

  • IUeconAlum

    How do you average 33.4 points in the high school game? Insane.

  • MillaRed

    Mike I think we should go undercover, work for the NCAA and film about 100 hours of footage. We can put together a reality movie because I am thinking there is some major comedy going on in that clueless society. Every 45 minutes we would be like, “Who hired you and how in the H are you keeping your job?”

    The funniest part of the film would be in meetings when they are looking into violations. Probably have a wheel of fortune they spin to determine penalties.

  • MillaRed

    The same way his little brother Jalen averaged 20 ppg in the 2nd grade. Google him. You will be amazed.

  • Evansville Hoosier

    I wouldn’t disagree, but he has to prove that over multiple rankings for the national guys to take note.

  • calbert40

    I think it is an Ouija Board instead, Milla. That’s the quickest and easiest way to speak to his Unholiness, Mark Emmert. He gets really poor cell reception in his “office.”

  • Alford…or James Blackmon Sr.

  • lol maybe you don’t want mom and dad to give their input since they both went to Kentucky. But I’m sure that they’re proud of him no matter where he goes.

  • plane1972

    Yet! Just kidding..sort of.

  • calbert40

    It would be funny, if it wasn’t so accurate!!

  • marcusgresham

    From what I’ve been told, his school plays a schedule consisting of higher class teams so he isn’t exactly playing inferior competition.

    Glad he’s in the ear of his friends; I hope his little brother is one of the people he’s working on.

  • IUfanPurduePhD

    The goodest people at math go to Purdue; the people who are goodest at English go to IU.

  • jmoney

    I’m hoping that this kid is from the same mold as Jay Edwards…without the off-court issues, of course. Not overly athletic, but he knows how to find good looks and score. With a little more conditioning and weight, I think he’ll be a producer for the Hoosiers right away.

  • dtfreed

    everybody else on the floor with jalen plays at there age/talent level and he plays about 4 yrs older. Not saying he won’t be amazing just saying he is the only one on the floor with any talent at this point, 2nd grade right?

  • IUMIKE1

    I didn’t get past the word, “undercover”, before totally ridiculous and hilarious things starting going through my head. The two of us, on a mission of that sorts, would lend new meaning to the phrase, anything is possible and more than likely probable.

    I’m all in, just let me know when you’re ready to lock, load & roll. LOL

  • hoosier1158

    You put up a lot of shots. : )

  • Whoa slow down! I’m looking forward to 2013 first! This class has more ready to step on the floor & play players than “The Movement”, and yeah they more than likely won’t be in the hunt for a 6th banner this season but they are going to be fun to watch!