2016 guard Vijay Blackmon making his own name

050613shcxThe easy on-court comparison for class of 2016 guard Vijay Blackmon is his older brother, James, who committed to Indiana back in the fall of 2010 and is a member of the program’s 2014 recruiting class.

They share similar builds and can do many of the same things on the floor.

But it might not be the best comparison off the court according to their father, James Blackmon Sr., their high school coach and a former McDonald’s All-American who played at Kentucky.

“It’s so funny, you can have three or four kids and they can have different personalities,” Blackmon Sr. said over the weekend at the Spiece Run-N-Slam in Fort Wayne. “James and Vijay are totally different. Vijay has some qualities that James doesn’t have. James has some qualities that Vijay doesn’t have.”

“I’d say I’m more of a laid back type of guy,” James Blackmon Jr. says. “Vijay is always talking when he gets home about his games non-stop.”

As a freshman at Class 2A Ft. Wayne Leurs, Vijay joined his brother in the starting lineup and helped lead the school to a sectional crown. He averaged 12.5 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.4 steals per game.

Next year, he’ll play at Class 4A Marion, which recently hired Blackmon Sr., an alum, to rejuvenate a program that hasn’t had a winning season since 2008-2009. It’s a challenge the whole family is looking forward to.

“It’s a good opportunity for my dad and I want to play for him,” Vijay noted. “So I’m going to go with him.”

“It’s going to be an emotional feeling having your own kid play in the same gym that you played in,” Blackmon Sr. said. “Within that atmosphere and that environment, I knew how it was when I played. We had 6,000 people in that gym and the tradition was really strong. Marion is a little down now. If we can generate some energy back in there, it will be pretty exciting.”

The growth of Vijay’s game could be a big factor in just how far the Giants can come next season.

At 6-foot-2 and 165 pounds, adding strength in the offseason is an important goal for him and one that his older brother says he’s attacked head on so far in the offseason.

“He’s been developing ever since the high school season got over, working on his shot and working on his strength,” Blackmon Jr. said. “I think he’s gotten a lot stronger as you can see out there.”

Vijay got the opportunity to travel with the Spiece Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL) team for the April evaluation periods to gain some experience in that environment, but was back on the court last weekend at the Spiece Fieldhouse playing with his 15-and-under team.

“I’m the main scorer,” he said of his role with the Spiece Indy Heat 15-and-under group. “When we play a lot of competition, they look for me to be the scorer on the team.

“It was fun to watch my brother (in EYBL) and watch how he takes over and watch the older guys like JaQuan (Lyle). I learn a lot from them.”

The recruiting process is still taking shape for Vijay, who received his lone scholarship offer to this point from Indiana back in October. He’s also received interest from Purdue and visited Notre Dame this past season as the Irish beat eventual national champion Louisville in five overtimes.

It’s clear the early IU offer is enticing for the young point guard.

“IU is very appealing. It’s a good opportunity for me,” he said. “If I get the opportunity to go there, I would love it.”

While the comparisons between the brothers will likely continue for the foreseeable future, Blackmon Sr.’s hope is that his sons continue to learn from one another.

“Does Vijay shoot the ball better than James? Percentage wise, I don’t know,” he said. “But Vijay gets to the rim pretty quick. Hopefully Vijay can pick off some of his weaknesses from James and try to develop his overall game.”

  • dtfreed

    Should be interesting to see how the Blackmon Inc.does at the 4A level, of course the ole north central conference ain’t what it use to be. Wouldn’t you hate to be a junior guard on Marion’s existing team with these two coming in. If Marion finds a couple bigs they could suddenly be something, again.

  • http://twitter.com/IUinNap Caleb Moore

    Good luck to VJ. Hope he stays healthy and gets that knee injury completely behind him and he becomes the player a lot of people think he can become. Would be very cool to see him at IU with his bro down the line.

    I am from Anderson so I also remember the old NC conference. Marion would come into the sold out Wigwam with about 8,000 people on their feet. Atmosphere was excellent……you’d get the best pre-game pagentry for any high school basketball team in the country plus watch at least 4-5 high level D1 players. Fans on both sides yelling at each other so loudly across the floor there were times the players had looks of disbelief at what was happening. I consider myself very lucky to have been able to experience that before it was closed and then go from that to Assembly Hall. No wonder I am a basketball nutjob. Those kids at Anderson now dont even know what they are missing. Went to a game up there over the Winter when they were playing Kokomo and they still do the pagentry, but it’s just not in the same universe as the old Wigwam. Was so surreal sitting there with my dad again 20 years later in a tiny little gym watching the same pagentry. Still bring tears to my eyes and makes me sick to think of that building sitting empty and cold when it used to be standing room only and filled with passion every Friday night. One day it will be back…..I still firmly believe that.

  • http://www.facebook.com/david.macer.5 David Macer

    Not sure why you ae dissing the NCC. I really believe that some of the schools in the metro Indy area woo some kids. It could also be that these towns re actually losing population to larger metro areas because of jobs

  • marcusgresham

    Check out the guy fouling Vijay. Looks like he took it to the hole against Dwight Shrute’s cousin, Mose.

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