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).”
It was a night for recruits, and a good night for recruiting Thursday when the Indiana football team took on Towson. Yogi Ferrell tweeted all about his trip to Bloomington, and there were reports circulating that Cody Zeller and his family were also in attendance.
But perhaps the biggest win of the night came when James Blackmon, Jr., a freshman guard at Bishop Luers in Fort Wayne, committed to play for Indiana. Blackmon, the No. 1-rated shooting guard in the 2014 class, according to ESPN, is the son of former Kentucky standout James Blackmon, Sr., who confirmed the news late Thursday.
The commitment represents another strong statement about Indiana coach Tom Crean’s success in building relationships with in-state recruits. Crean already has commitments from 2011 and 2012 in-state prospects Austin Etherington and Ron Patterson, respectively, and this pledge furthers the notion that Indiana recruiting is recovering nicely.
We’ll try to have more for you on this tomorrow. In the meantime, feel free to bask in the glow of an undefeated football team and another coveted commitment. Happy Friday folks.
Update: BaseballBuc posted a link to the following video in the comments. Enjoy.