FORT WAYNE – James Blackmon Jr. is committed to Indiana once more.
Indiana is a great program, and every school that I was considering actually is a great program, Blackmon said during his announcement Thursday on ESPNU. It’s been a tough decision.
Blackmon, a former Bishop Luers star who now plays at Marion, originally committed to the Hoosiers before playing a high school game. IU coach Tom Crean held on to that commitment through an anterior cruciate ligament tear in Blackmon’s sophomore season, but the five-star 2014 prospect decided in August to reopen his recruitment and look at other options.
Kentucky, Kansas, Louisville, Michigan, Michigan State, North Carolina and many others offered Blackmon a scholarship after his decommitment, but Crean and his staff were not deterred. The Hoosiers continued to recruit Blackmon, a 6-foot-3, 180-pound guard who averaged close to 30 points per game as a junior.
They were ultimately rewarded.
Blackmon is the No. 31 player in his class according to the 247Composite, a service from 247Sports.com that aggregates the rankings ofRivals.com, Scout.com, ESPN.com and 247Sports.com into one consensus ranking. He is considered the No. 12 shooting guard in the country and the No. 2 player in the state.
Entering Thursday, Blackmon was considered a lock for Kentucky, which was the favorite in Blackmon’s recruitment since he decided to decommit.
But the Wildcats received a pledge from Devin Booker, a fellow shooting guard in the 2014 class, earlier in the day, and the focus shifted from Big Blue Nation to Hoosier Nation in a hurry.
Blackmon settled the matter with his announcement.
Once again, he is Bloomington bound.
Coach Crean recruited me as a main priority and just the way I see myself impacting the program and keeping Indiana back on top, said Blackmon, whose father played for Kentucky. It was a close call, just put it like that. I almost went (to Kentucky), but I just felt like this was where my heart was and I couldn’t imagine myself not playing for the fans of Indiana basketball.
Blackmon became the third commitment of the 2014 class. The Hoosiers earned pledges from Virginia guard Robert Johnson, the No. 47 player in the class, and California native Max Hoetzel, a three-star power forward.
Now, they have their blue-chip recruit back: an in-state prospect who Scout.com national analyst Evan Daniels thinks can have a tremendous effect in Bloomington.
He’s the kind of player that can go to Indiana and leave there a legend, Daniels said. He’s arguably the best shooter in the 2014 class.
Blackmon will aim to bring some more talent along with him. AAU teammate JaQuan Lyle, an Evansville native, is considering the Hoosiers, and the newest IU commitment will try to steer him toward the Hoosiers.
Lyle, the No. 22 player in the class, formerly committed to Louisville.
I think I will make a big impact there and my decision will impact other players to come, Blackmon said.