UPDATE: 12:17 p.m. Friday
Just got off the phone with James Blackmon Sr. who said Tom Crean and Indiana’s coaching staff made his son feel “welcomed” throughout their recruitment, making last night’s decision easy.
“He made us feel welcomed, answered a lot of questions,” Blackmon Sr. said. “(Blackmon Jr.) had a lot of questions.”
Indiana’s recruitment of Blackmon Jr. really took shape over the summer, when his father said the Hoosiers got plenty of chances to see James play. The player also visited Indiana’s Elite Camp over the summer.
By the time he came down to visit last night, Blackmon Sr. said the last step in the process was easy to take.
“It just felt like this was a good opportunity,” he said. “I think Coach Crean is headed in the right direction.”
Blackmon Sr., who was a McDonald’s All-American at Marion High School and a standout guard at Kentucky, is his son’s coach at Bishop Luers in Fort Wayne. The elder Blackmon won state titles at the school in 2008 and 2009 with DeShaun Thomas, now a freshman at Ohio State. So his son’s pedigree is inherited from his father in more ways than one.
November 2013 is the earliest Blackmon Jr. can sign a letter of intent, but he’s already drawn rave reviews. ESPN has him ranked among the top 10 players in the ’14 class, and their top shooting guard. He is the only committed player in ESPN’s 2014 top 40, and it should also be noted he’s the only in-state player on that list.
Like many other recruits that have come through Bloomington since April, the Blackmons were particularly impressed by Cook Hall. More than that, Blackmon Sr. said, he was impressed by the convenience of having Cook Hall and Assembly Hall so close to the northwest dormitories.
“It was just so convenient,” Blackmon Sr. said. “It was exciting to be able to walk through (Cook Hall).”
Per this tweet from Kyle Neddenriep, Washington (IN) forward Cody Zeller has lined up dates for official visits to the three remaining schools on his list.
Butler, the defending national runner-up, will be the first school to host Zeller on October 9-11. North Carolina will receive their visit on the opening weekend of practice (October 15-17). And Indiana will get the opportunity for the last impression as the Hoosiers will host Zeller on October 29-31. Indiana football hosts Northwestern on October 30.
Since I’m often asked by readers for my opinion on the direction of Zeller’s recruitment, here are a couple of thoughts:
+ If you’re looking for clues on where Cody will end up based on comments from the family, you’re going to hit a dead end quickly. There are going to be rumors and “I heard this from so-and-so” in the comments and on the message boards up until the decision is made. And while it might be fun to read and discuss, I don’t buy any of it.
+ The visit to North Carolina on the opening weekend of practice makes sense if Cody’s parents, Lorri and Steve, will be making the trip to Chapel Hill to watch Tyler and the Tar Heels kick off their season.
+ I have an opinion, privately, about where I believe Zeller will end up. Some readers have asked me to comment via email or Twitter, but the upside to making a public prediction is zero. If I say I believe he’s going to IU, I’ll be called a homer and then an idiot (or worse) if he doesn’t end up picking the Hoosiers.
With that, I’ll leave you with a video compilation of Zeller and a Q &A from July at the adidas Invitational after the jump:
Joe Eberhardt, founder of IndyHoopsBlog and also a contributor here at Inside the Hall, put together a nice compilation video featuring some of the state’s top talent.
Among the players featured: IU commits Austin Etherington and Ron Patterson as well as Cody Zeller, Devin Davis, Yogi Ferrell, Gary Harris, Zak Irvin, Jeremy Hollowell, Trey Lyles and Basil Smotherman.
After a breakout summer on the AAU circuit, McCluer North (MO) guard B.J. Young shot up to five-star status in the recruiting rankings.
Fresh off being named the MVP of the Five-Star Super Session in New York, Inside the Hall caught up with the 6-3 combo guard for the latest on his recruitment:
On the schools currently involved in his recruitment:
“Indiana, Arkansas, Illinois State, I think Kansas and Memphis are starting to get into it, but I don’t really know yet. Baylor is one of them. Iowa, Iowa State, Marquette, Louisville, Providence, North Carolina State.”
On where he stands with his recruitment:
“I’m still really open.”
On his decision to take an official visit to Arkansas:
“I really like Arkansas. I got family from down in Arkansas. They wanted to set up a visit with me, so I got a date set up with them.”
On his recent contact with Indiana:
“I talk to Indiana regularly. They get two calls per week. I still talk to them regularly. I like them a lot. Me and Indiana are still really close.”
On potentially taking an official visit to Bloomington:
“I think they want me to take an official visit and they want to make an in-home visit too.”
On his timetable for making a decision:
“Probably after I take all of my visits and sit down with my family and talk. So probably in November sometime.”
(Photo Credit: Jack Arent/adidas)
For the first time since the conclusion of the July evaluation period, we’ve updated our 2011 Recruiting Board and as discussed frequently in the comments, the board is focused on Cody Zeller and B.J. Young. Both prospects are now rated in the top 20 of both Rivals and Scout.
We’ll be updating our 2012 Board in the coming weeks, but for now, check out the updated 2011 Board at the link below.
After falling from Scout’s post-spring Top 100, Hamilton Heights (IN) guard and IU commit Austin Etherington is once again ranked by the national recruiting service led by Dave Telep.
Etherington missed time early in the AAU season with a stress fracture, but put together a solid July. He’s now rated the No. 98 prospect nationally by Scout.
Etherington told Inside the Hall earlier this month that he let his play in Las Vegas speak for itself: “I felt like I proved myself in Vegas and other times in July, so we’ll just see what happens (with the rankings),” he said.
Two other prospects with heavy IU interest – Washington (IN) forward Cody Zeller and Florissant (MO) guard B.J. Young – are in Scout’s Top 20. Zeller checks in at No. 16 and Young is No. 17.
Other prospects of note in the rankings: Branden Dawson (15), Chane Behanan (29), Marshall Plumlee (40), Michael Chandler (67), Aaron Thomas (72) and Naadir Tharpe (94).
You can view the complete Top 100 here.
The 2013 class in Indiana isn’t very big, but it’s full of talented players. This particular class is loaded with guards and wings, but lacks an elite big man. There are at least seven sure fire high-major players in this class and potential for more to emerge. If you have any questions about the rankings, feel free to address them in the comments.
10. Brenton Scott 6’0 PG (Ft. Wayne Northrop) – He’s not as highly regarded as his twin brother, but is still a good player and capable point guard. He’s more of a distributor than Bryson, looking to set up teammates rather than score the ball. He’s a solid 3-point shooter, and will fill it up if given the opportunity. He really gets after it on the defensive end and plays with a tough mentality.
9. Richard Freeman 6’7 PF (Lawrence Central) – Freeman is an athletic player with great length and bounce. He can shoot the mid-range with consistency, but I’d like to see him assert himself down low more. Added strength and aggressiveness down low would really benefit his game. His skill and production hasn’t caught up with his upside, but he’s got plenty of time to improve his game. He’s one of the better long term prospects in this class depending on his improvement and development.
8. Demetrius Jackson 6’1 PG (Mishawaka) – Jackson is a quick and smart point guard who uses his athleticism to break down the defense. He looks to set up teammates early and often which is good, but he needs to look to assert himself as a scorer as well. His shooting form is solid, but consistency can be an issue for him. As he improves his skill and relies less and less on physical talent, he’ll improve as a player.