James Blackmon Jr. dominant at Nike Global Challenge

  • 07/22/2013 10:09 am in

061713jfvWASHINGTON – James Blackmon Jr. of Marion (Ind.) was one of about 15 committed players at this year’s Nike Global Challenge. A 6-foot-3 shooting guard, Blackmon has been committed to Indiana since September of 2010.

As the first Hoosier pledge in his class, Blackmon has talked to several IU targets about joining him in Bloomington.

“Yeah, I get into a lot of peoples’ ears,” Blackmon said. “Like at last camp I was at I talked to LeRon Black, he likes IU. I talked to Goodluck [Okonoboh], just guys who are interested and I just tell them it’s a great program.”

Blackmon, who is rated No. 25 in the ESPNU Top 100, went on to share what sense he has gotten from the two big men about what they are thinking.

“I think that LeRon, he really likes it and he also told me that he would love to play with me, a scorer,” he said. “And Goodluck just, we played together on the same team at the camp. He was like, ‘Dang, I want to play with a scorer like that.’”

Blackmon, who was on Team USA Midwest at the Nike Global Challenge, wasn’t doing much recruiting in the nation’s capital.

He was, however, a big reason for his team’s third place finish in the event. Despite being hampered by a sore left ankle, he averaged 20.0 points on 67.3 percent shooting from the field to go along with 4.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game.

“It’s just all fun for me, just a real big opportunity for all of us really,” Blackmon said. “So, we all just wanted to go together and show what we can do and that’s what I think we did.”

IU assistant coach Kenny Johnson and Tom Crean were both at the Global Challenge to watch Blackmon and other recruits and the future Hoosier guard said he doesn’t feel any extra pressure to perform in front of his future coaches.

“No, I really don’t feel any pressure. It actually takes a lot of pressure off me to be honest,” he said. “They just want to see how I’ve developed and every game they watch me they say I get better and better.”

Blackmon’s decision to commit before ever playing a high school game has allowed him to focus on improvement and preparing for college rather than the recruiting process, which is often times hectic.

“It took a lot of pressure off me just to be committed and not worrying about that process that everyone has to go through,” Blackmon said. “I feel like this is the best choice for me and I really don’t have to worry about anything, just going out there and getting better.”

Known as one of the nation’s best shooters, Blackmon was nearly automatic at the Global Challenge. He had three games of 20 or more points and shot 56.3 percent from behind the 3-point arc.

Antwan Harris, the coach of Team USA Midwest, agreed that shooting is Blackmon’s forte on the court and spoke a bit more about his game.

“He needs to work on his lateral movement. He’s a little flaky with the basketball every now and then,” Harris said. “Yeah, he was hurt, I’ll give him that. Little flaky with the rock a little bit, he got nipped a couple times, but he can flat out shoot the basketball.”

Up next for Blackmon is getting acclimated to his new high school and getting his ankle, which he injured earlier this month at the LeBron James Skills Academy, back to 100 percent.

“Just [have to] keep getting stronger and more explosive,” he said, “but I just got to get healthy when I go back home because I’m not playing in any tournaments, just [trying to] get my ankle right and I should be straight.”

Alex Schwartz is the president and chief scouting officer of Northstar Basketball.

(Photo credit: Kelly Kline/Under Armour)

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  • Ole Man

    How soon can we enroll this kid!!!!!!!!!!?????

  • CreamandCrimson

    James Blackmon is a flat-out star in waiting. He has been committed since to this program since before he started high school, underrated for a few years because of his size and then because of an injury and he dropped in the rankings because he didn’t play AAU ball for a summer. Now, Blackmon is healthy, poised to win Mr. Basketball, starring on the court and rising in the rankings and doing what he can to bring other elite prospects with him to Bloomington. As we all speculate about who will be in the 2014 class, it’s important to remember James Blackmon, an elite shooter and scorer, is already in the fold.

  • Rie

    James is a stud and he will be a five-star recruit by the end of this year. We all talk about how much we would love to have certain recruits, but we are very fortunate to already have him locked up.

    I also liked how he handled the interview when they asked him about talking to and recruiting Trey Lyles. It was a childish comment/inquiry from whomever said it, but he took the high road and just said no. He is very mature for his age and the way he has conducted himself since his committal, knowing he is always representing IU, is great. Cannot wait to see what he will do when he gets to Bloomington. Unfortunately, it is a long wait, but I guess the positive is that he will be getting even better.

  • HoosierTrav

    I have followed this class for a long time and I’m very certain that the scouting services is REALLY undervaluing this kid. Even at 25 in the nation. He’s top 10. They say being an early commit doesn’t matter but I disagree. They have subscriptions to sell and always seem to get hard ons for big men. Maybe its bc bigs are more of a commodity. Blackmon is much better than a lot of the top ten kids on espn and his consistent numbers against those kids prove it.

  • HoosierTrav

    Thank you!

  • HoosierCruz

    love this guy!!! Crean’s vision with players is pretty amazing

  • baukev55

    I’m just going to vent on this thread. ONLY 8 GAMES FOR STUDENTS NEXT YEAR!!! REALLY?!?!?!?!?!?


  • The_Hall_Monitor

    Because, freshmen are students too. Also, many freshmen may be bigger fans than certain upperclassmen.

  • baukev55

    Maybe in some cases, but I think statistically speaking no. I’m also not happy with the lottery system idea.

  • Rie

    How do you find that statistic in existence? I have two friends that decided to come to IU over other Midwest schools because of Eric Gordon and company. Although this did not/would not sway my position on education or what school I would join, their motivations are their own. We were all freshman that year. It is sad our students are in this position, but great to know that it is because we have the best program in the nation.

  • Hoosiers1111

    I’m sure you realize that IU already has the largest student section in the country. It could be a lot worse. You could A) either get even fewer tickets because they have half as many student seats B) get none potentially if they had a lottery system or C) have a crappy team to watch, but be assured of getting to watch every game. Just be glad you get 8 games. I’m sure the students from 4 years ago would gladly trade positions with you.

  • OhioHoosier

    As an incoming freshmen, I’m disappointed that the ticket package only includes 8 games but I will certainly be paying my for every other game!

  • Hardwood83

    What’s not to like about this guy?

  • SCHoosier

    Huuumm..let’s see LeB and GO want to player with a scorer in college and like to play with Blackmon who IS a scorer. Seems like TC ought to be able to arrange something here??? Stay with them on twitter JB..bring’em home.

  • WisconHoosier

    This isn’t new. We had partial season tickets back in the 70’s. It was the luck of the draw where you sat, and what games you saw.

    My last game was right behind the IU bench, front row, for the 1976 team’s last home appearance. I think the tickets cost me $6. I had two. Turned down a $700 offer for them, which was a lot of money then.

    I also played pickup games at HPER with those guys. Me, Scotty, Quinn, and some of the younger guys. The first time downcourt, me and Buckner are the guards. He’s got the ball, looks over to me, and says with that smile of his “Yeah, you’re not going to be shooting tonight.”

    IU has always had great role players. Mine was to inbound the ball and not get in the way.

  • Chairman Meow

    I remember his father paying against connersville in the 1983 state

  • Ed

    James has always been fun to watch play. He has a little brother in grade school that will make your jaw hit the floor when you watch him play. Very talented family.

  • MillaRed

    I am and have been excited about him from day 1. No more or less than Cody, Yogi or anyone else. He is the kid everyone will be talking about when we hit the Final Four.

  • MillaRed

    I agree, bigs are needed but it wasn’t the “bigs” that gave Louisville a national championship. It was the “smalls.”

  • MillaRed

    More than anything the IU Nation has benefited from his father. Senior knows the deal and has passed it down to the kids. Hopefully there are other Blackmon’s in our recruiting future.

  • Ole Man

    True; but now we need a Big!

  • Ole Man

    Early 70s, as a student, we bought season ticket packages to EVERY game. The seating rotated, but you had a seat for every game.

  • Miamihoosier

    Nobody else in this class, is scoring with his volume and consistency against the nation’s best. I think he’ll have a strong chance at Eric Gordon’s freshman scoring mark, he’ll be on a better team, with a far better point guard.

  • PDXHoosier

    Have you been to Assembly Hall? The presence of the crowd is one of the best in the country, and impossible to ignore. We don’t need to copy programs that have to put their 500 students on top of the out of bounds line to look good on TV.
    I agree some of the student’s seats are ridiculously bad, but they have a bunch on the baseline and in the corner. Those white haired alumni that line center court have paid a lot of money to the program over the years, and I appreciate their support (especially when the students get them to stand up!). It is part of the Assembly Hall experience.

  • OhioHoosier

    Yeah, we were supposed to get all 16 games but they then changed it to 8 and reduced the price from $320 to $200. It definitely is disappointing.

  • Ole Man

    Sure is. You can bet the joint was rockin’! Bobby was bringing the program back; more students than other fans in the seats. Still remember those games as special.

  • thrawnjan

    it’s also true that last year they were claiming to have a student section of 12,000 which was a flat out lie – they sold that many student season tickets, but “only” 7,000 attend every game (didn’t look up the exact numbers, but they should be close). didn’t like that marketing trick.

  • BluegrassHoosier

    I’ll feel much better when he is signed. Still having Lyles flashbacks.

  • Fergy

    Students first. The University is there for them

  • Fergy

    No he did not play connersville in 1983. Marion played our arch rival the Anderson Indians and they beat us by a point in OT of afternoon game of state finals. James scored 52 points, junior at the time Troy Lewis scored 47 for Anderson. Connersville beat the Indians in championship game. They had the Heinemann twins who went on to may play for Wisconsin.

  • OhioHoosier

    Well I’m definitely hoping I see a title in my four years…I think I will be I’m school for banner number 6!!!

  • Outoftheloop

    In 2014-15 Yogi, Vonleh, Fischer, and James Blackmon lead an incredibly deep and talented IU to a Banner (maybe with Exum and Okonoboh)!

  • Outoftheloop

    7000 out of 17000 is pretty good (41%)!

  • Outoftheloop

    He is the best shooting guard in the class!

  • Outoftheloop

    It was the “6th man” transfer who did not miss and made big play after big play!

  • Outoftheloop

    Well said!

  • thrawnjan

    Yep! That’s why I thought it was unnecessary to massage the number. It’s nice as it is.

  • ThaSnowman

    IU needs to build a bigger arena, and have seats for about 25k. make 30 percent student section or maybe 40. With the way Hoosier nation has really taken off again. Which includes all of us loyal fans that stuck with the program through all the down years, the fair weather fans, and new fans that are starting to realize what a great program IU is. We need a bigger stadium for sure. It is obvious it’s going to sell out basically every game, and if we want to compete for #1 in attendance then we need to have more seats!! I think it sucks for students as well btw.

  • HoosierTrav

    and its not even close. one could argue that he’s the best scorer in the class. period!

  • HoosierTrav

    Honestly I think we are pretty solid at the big position. I like either Okonoboh or Humphrey, but that’s it. Get one more and be finished. I still have high hopes that Hanner and Luke Fischer will develop into formidable bigs. I really like this team.

  • HoosierTrav

    I really think that we’d have no problem selling out a 25-28k seat venue each game. It would also allow for the poor guy like myself, who wants to take my kid to a game, be able to afford 2 tickets. Its flat out ridiculous what it cost to see a good B1G game. I love assembly hall but I’d be a huge advocate for a bigger and better new facility.

  • HoosierTrav

    I really hope you’re right but I’m not sure about reaching those numbers that soon. I think Blackmon is going to be a flat out star and future pro. but Eric Gordon was on a whole different level. He could shoot like JB but he was wayyyy bigger, stronger, and explosively athletic. He could get to the cup in a heartbeat and body the defender. Eric Gordon was very special…. I dont think its fully understood just how special he was. The turmoil around him and his injuries really diluted his greatness. Like i said, I hope I’m wrong and JB challenges the record, but I’m not so sure.

  • HoosierTrav

    Vijay is very talented. Very smooth customer. I’d say he is more of a facilitator but he can shoot it well…… The one to keep an eye on is Jalen Blackmon. Anything can happen with time but the Blackmon family and those closely surrounding the family will have no problems admitting that Jalen is far better at his age than either James or Vijay.

  • Ole Man

    My point, exactly. We need one of those to finish out this class. Without either, I think we’re hurtin’.

  • Ole Man

    I hope so too OH! Nothing like it. I was in Philly when they won in ’76. Very special to be there.