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And Another Thing


Blackmon re-commits to IU

And so, after all that hand-wringing and haranguing of rival coaches (See: Tom Crean in Ann Arbor last season), James Blackmon Jr. is right back where he started.

Which is to say: He committed to Indiana. Then he de-committed. Now he's re-committed.

Of course, tomorrow's another day.

And, listen, that's no swipe at Blackmon, who committed to IU as a freshman and whose own development since radically changed the landscape for him. Who could blame him for wanting to see whether there were better opportunities out there for him?

No, the problem is not Blackmon, but the attitude of everyone around him. Which is to say, nothing he or any recruit says these days, no matter earnest they may be, should be taken seriously.

This isn't a message that resonates as much in basketball as in football, where the poaching of orally committed recruits is widespread and considered standard procedure. There, a young man's public decision is not just disrespected, it's utterly disregarded. Until he actually signs the letter of intent, it's still open season on him.

That doesn't happen as much in basketball, which is why Crean was outraged when Blackmon showed up at the IU-Michigan game in Ann Arbor last year sitting with some Michigan recruits behind the Michigan bench. As far as is known, neither Michigan nor Kentucky either extended him an offer nor were seriously recruiting him before he de-committed.

But given the overall landscape of college athletics these days, it's not unfair to wonder whether there weren't some external forces at work in Blackmon's de-commit.

In a world that no longer has any boundaries or propriety, after all, everything and everyone is suspect in these deals. To the detriment of everyone involved.

Ben Smith's blog.