Recruiting Notebook: Blackmon Jr., Johnson on torrid scoring pace

  • 12/29/2013 9:35 pm in

A little bit more than a third of the way through the 2013-2014 high school season, Indiana’s future backcourt duo of James Blackmon Jr. and Robert Johnson is setting a torrid scoring pace.

Blackmon Jr., who led Marion to an upset of No. 3 Hamilton Southeastern over the weekend in the Carroll Shootout in Fort Wayne, has scored 285 points in eight games. In the 83-81 win over HSE, Blackmon Jr. scored 37 points.

Earlier in the season, the future IU guard set the Marion single-game scoring record with 54 points in a win over Irvington Prep.

The Giants finished just 10-13 last season, but are off to a 5-3 start under James Blackmon Sr.

Marion went 3-1 over the weekend in the Carroll Shootout, beating East Noble, Homestead and HSE before falling to Fort Wayne Carroll in the game’s championship game on Saturday night.

Blackmon Jr., a leading contender for the 2014 Indiana Mr. Basketball Award, has six games of 30 or more points and is among the state’s leading scorers at 35.6 points per game.

At Benedictine Prep in Richmond, Va., Robert Johnson is also putting together a fantastic senior season. The 6-foot-2 combo guard is leading the Cadets (12-1) in scoring at 26.1 points per game.

Johnson was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Benedictine Capital City Classic over the weekend as he averaged 33.7 points in three games.

In 27.1 minutes per game for Benedictine, Johnson is averaging a team-high 5.8 rebounds. He’s second on the team with 2.8 assists per game and is shooting 48.8 percent from the field, 33.3 percent from behind the 3-point line and 75.8 percent from the foul line.

“We ask Robert to be a Swiss Army knife for us and he’s embraced the challenge while leading our team to a 12-1 record,” Benedictine coach Ryan Marable told Inside the Hall. “He has embraced guarding the best player on the defensive end while also carrying a lot of the lead on offense not only scoring but creating plays for others.”

Hoetzel puts together solid showing at Shootout

Indiana’s third class of 2014 signee, Wilbraham and Monson Academy (Mass.) forward Max Hoetzel, also put together a solid weekend in the Shootout in Raleigh, N.C.

Wilbraham and Monson finished the weekend just 1-2, but Hoetzel averaged 12.6 points and 6.3 rebounds.

The future IU wing shot 41.1 percent from the field, 66.6 percent from the foul line and committed just one turnover.

In a 75-70 loss on Saturday to Homeschool Youth Christian Association (Tex.), which features North Carolina signee Justin Jackson, Hoetzel finished with 20 points.

“Max is doing very well and playing a vital role to our team’s success,” Wilbraham and Monson coach Chris Sparks told Inside the Hall. “We are playing a national schedule and Max has made the most of his opportunities. Max is our second leading scorer and third on the team in rebounds. With six other Division I players, he is fitting in nicely.”

Other notes

· Class of 2016 Foothills Christian (Ca.) forward T.J. Leaf received a scholarship offer from Arizona over the weekend, according to media reports.

Leaf, one of Indiana’s top recruiting targets, posted his first triple-double on Dec. 26 with 19 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists in a 59-46 loss to Los Angeles Westward.

· Class of 2016 Gill St. Bernard’s (N.J.) guard Tyus Battle scored 26 points in a 61-54 loss to Teaneck on Sunday. Battle had 15 points and 11 rebounds in a 60-56 loss to Hudson Catholic on Friday in front of Indiana assistant coach Kenny Johnson.

Battle, who is scheduled to visit Bloomington on Saturday, is averaging 23.2 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.7 assists through six games

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  • Alford Bailey

    I love all three of these guys and we all know how bad we need the pure shooting but is anybody else starting to wonder just how CTC is gonna use these guys? RJ and JBJ can contribute immediately in my mind but in a 10-12 man rotation will they get enough minutes to make a difference? CTC has really got me questioning alot of things right now.

  • kyle jenkins

    I think there is no way he is going to be able to keep blackmon or Johnson off the court. They are way too talented. I think we are going to see a lot of 3 guard line ups between yogi, Stan, James, and rob. All these guys will be able to fill it up next year.

  • drewheck

    It’ll be great being given able to swap James and Robert out. Two big time shooters

  • Andrew

    It’s not that complicated. We lose two guys for sure, Sheehey and Gordon. They are replaced by JBJ and RJ. The rotation will tighten up in the B1G, like it does every season, and “only” 9 or 10 guys will get significant minutes. It will be the same way next year. As long as JBJ and RJ are in the top 9 or 10, and there’s no reason to believe they won’t be, they will have a chance to contribute.

  • Arch_Puddington

    It takes a special kind of critic to find fault with a coach who brings in two of the best players in the nation. Bravo.

  • MillaRed

    This is a “problem” I hope Coach runs into on a regular basis.

  • Bricklayer

    One thing I don’t question is bringing in talent, other things CTC does can be questioned but this isn’t one of them.

  • PDXHoosier

    Do we have any shot with TJ Leaf? We’ve never really recruited the west coast well, and Arizona is probably the top choice for any kid out here (although UCLA might turn the corner any time)

  • Miamihoosier

    You have to admit it’s concerning when a wing is only avg 12 points a game in high school….it’s not like Hoetzel is playing with a couple NBA guards eating up all the shots. I was high on him when he signed, but you just hate to see another Malik Story/Nick Williams/Remy Abell/Colin Hartman type situation. You are not going to get wings and guards to sit on the bench for 3 years hoping in their 4th they get to play a lot. HOWEVER, big men will. If we are going to get project type guys, or guys we know are gonna be 4 year players, why not do it with big men? Look how valuable some of these guys have turned out to be for Wichita St, and Butler, hell, even Louisville last year with Deng, that kid couldn’t catch a ball his first year, same with Keita at Syracuse….I’m not saying Bawa Muniru bad, but you can’t tell me there aren’t some 6″8 6″9 guys who can really play sitting just outside that top 150 where Hoetzel is, that wouldn’t like come to IU. Maybe I’m being spoiled, but it seems like we have more guards and wings than we can handle as it is.

  • doodle777

    Yea his last two recruiting classes he has brought in several of the best players in the nation and we will be lucky to make tournament, Cant imagine anyone questioning anything.

  • Outoftheloop

    Coach Crean has shown that he does not use the positions 1-5 in his system: there are 1) Bigs, usually 2 but sometimes 1 on the floor; 2) PG, usually 1, but sometimes 2 on the floor if they can shoot the 3; 3) Players, usually 3 but sometimes 4 on the floor. Both Robert and James are Players that can also play PG (along with Stan). Max is a Player that can shoot the 3. If Max grows to 6’9 he could play both Big and Player. Not hard to see how they will be used next year. I wish that we had them this year! If he can ever tap into his inner Victor Oladipo, Jeremy is one player who could play all 3 positions.

  • Outoftheloop

    Not lucky, but “an improving young team”! Six freshmen and 5 sophomores tend to make that a requirement.

  • CreamandCrimson

    He’s an interesting case because his family is from Indiana and he has spent quite a bit of time in our lovely state. I don’t know where these quotes were but I remember reading him saying his dad (who played at Lawrence North in Indianapolis) talked about IU a lot. I imagine we won’t get him (especially as hot as Arizona is right now) but, “I’m saying there’s a chance!”.

  • Outoftheloop

    You have to give Max a real shot at showing that he is reliable from 3. At 6’8 plus he can be a real weapon, like Watford!

  • JethroTroll

    Really? We haven’t played game 1 on THIS year’s B1G schedule, yet some of you are busy predicting lineups for next year?

  • HoosierTrav

    I think we have a much better shot with the kid than most think. He grew up hearing about how great Indiana basketball is and his Dad seems very excited that our Hoosiers are recruiting him. He would be able to fulfill his dads childhood dream.

  • HoosierTrav

    TJ Leaf and Tyus Battle would be beautiful.

  • Andrew Walker

    Really? We have article on NEXT year’s recruits, yet you are busy trolling comments about it?

  • WhatsUpKnight

    well, he’s gonna get his shot and i wish him the best. from what i read, i get the impression he’s a hard worker, so that’s good. however, i’m not gonna hold my breath. gonna be darn tough to crack next year’s lineup.

  • JethroTroll

    Trolling? LMFAO!! Im questioning the logic of a post, just like you did, yet you label my act as ‘trolling’. Hypocrite.

  • Alford Bailey

    You cant even remove your head outta CTCs rear long enough to understand the question I am asking.

  • Ole Man

    Two of the best players at any rate.

  • Alford Bailey

    Never questioned bringing in talent. Did you even read my comment?

  • Alford Bailey

    Yes that is kinda what I was thinking. Its what I am hoping for anyway. Thanks for the respectable reply.

  • Alford Bailey

    We all know the guy can recruit and there is no reason to believe that will change. The questions for alot of us Hoosier fans come after the guys get here. How does CTC use them?

  • Sarasota Hoosier

    Jethro, isn’t your last name Troll?

  • Alford Bailey

    Yes, I pretty much feel the same. I think RJ and JBJ are good enough to demand plenty of minutes. I hope they get them. Max is gonna surprise, Imo.

  • JethroTroll

    You obviously dont know the meaning or origin of my username.

  • Oldfan

    I’ve seen a lot of comments about how good a defender Robert Johnson is. Good defense will go a long way toward getting him in the starting lineup.

  • Rie

    Starters would be Yogi, Blackmon, Troy, Noah and Luke. With subs of RJ, Stanford, Jeremy, Devin, and Hanner, and secondary subs of Colin, Austin and Max. Am I missing anyone? This looks acceptable to me so I am not too worried. We cycle out two seniors, a 1 and a 2/3 hybrid, for a combo guard and a two guard. This forces Crean to abandon his crappy lineup of tweeners and having both Troy and Jeremy as starters, because Blackmon is too good to not start next to Yogi.

    Their addition would give us the following rotations:
    Guards: Yogi, RJ, Blackmon and Stanford
    Forwards: Troy, Jeremy and Devin
    Bigs: Noah, Luke and Hanner

    If you ask me this is a dream scenario and almost immediately rectifies the problems we are seeing this season. Spacing, ball movement, dribble-penetration and perimeter defense. It almost forces Crean to revert back to traditional positions, as opposed to this current starting lineup we have this season, which is baffling to say the least.

  • Alford Bailey

    Please read some of the replies I have received from people who actually answered my question. Good examples for you on how to respectable reply to the actual question.

  • Alford Bailey

    Very nice post. I like it.

  • CreanFaithful

    He grabbed 12 rebounds the other night too. I also read he is usually matched up with the best opposing player on D. Sounds like a CTC kinda guy…

  • Alford Bailey

    What do you think about a three guard lineup? Yogi, JBJ and RJ at times.

  • JethroTroll

    Nothing new about that. Crean usually likes playing 3 guards.

  • Rie

    That would be fine with me. RJ has the size and lateral movement. I am pretty much fine with any lineup that Crean throws out there, it is just this current starting one we have that drives me crazy. There are very few times when it is beneficial to play a guard with four forwards, especially when our weakness includes turnovers, shooting, spacing and ball movement.

  • IUED

    Very good post in answer to Arch_Puddington.


    hey alex r we gonna get any video highlights of these guys seems like we used to or is that in the pay portion of the site? just curious

  • David Macer

    Those of us old enough to know the band Jethro Tull know it’s a take off. But by using the name Troll it creates the inference. Just sayin’

  • Sarasota Hoosier

    Ian Anderson could play a mean flute, but was never really known for hitting the J. Sorry, didn’t mean anything personal, it was just too tempting to pass on.

  • Andrew Walker

    Ohhhh, I get it. You’re that kid in class that can’t stay on topic during the discussion.

  • MillaRed

    I think I can help you out here. CTC just won a B1G title. We were #1 most of the season and IU was totally on the map. He is recruiting his butt off.

    He just signed an extension. He isn’t……going…….anywhere.

    Not sure how long you have been on this site. Myself and others from day one. My point is, criticizing Coach is fine, we get it. But when it’s on the “get rid of him” level. You are wasting our time. He isn’t going anywhere.

    If you have that frame of mind you will get better responses. Otherwise it’s an exercise in futility.

    He isn’t……….going…….anywhere.

  • Alford Bailey

    Dude, are you kidding me. You obviously did not read my comment. I said I was questioning some things. Where did I say anything even close to get rid of Coach? Thats some serious putting words in my mouth. A complete made up line of crap. I dont really care what you think of my comments but I will not let you make stuff and not call you out on it. I have made the same point myself many times, he isnt going anywhere. Read some of the other replies. Many people making respectable replies to my comment. I’ve been on here nearly as long as you, under a different name. I know, I dont bow down to you like many do and maybe that hurts your ego. This kind of malicious reply of made up accusations deserves an apology. Lets see what kind of man the great Milla is…

  • b_side

    Posters who replied weren’t necessarily putting words in your mouth, but you got awfully sensitive, considering you overtly implied certain things about Crean’s ability to manage talent. For those criticizing like yourself, I feel like it’s a “what have you done for me lately” kind of attitude as opposed to appreciating just how special last year’s team was (and even the season before that beat Kentucky). Expect supporters to respond in kind because Crean can coach.

    Keep two things in mind:
    1) Even with Noel’s injury, Calipari accomplished far less with more talent last season.

    2) Imagine what we’d be saying (or spewing?) as Michigan supporters given their high expectations coming into the season.

    I’ll be more concerned about this team in February if certain players (Noah, Jeremy and Troy) haven’t shown any marked improvement. Because Crean isn’t just a great recruiter as you’ve said in various replies – most importantly, he and his staff are proven player developers.

  • JethroTroll

    Nice try again. Fail.

  • Bricklayer

    Yes, I read your comment. Maybe you don’t even understand what in earth you’re saying and the way someone with intelligence would respond to it.

  • Bricklayer

    Hey troll, a lot of teams bring in top talent and don’t make the tournament.

  • Bricklayer

    What is your problem….dude????

  • MillaRed

    You’re an idiot

  • SilverAtlanta

    I certainly hope IU can keep Noah, he’s already projected as a top ten NBA pick. Might be tough to pass the $$$.