The Indiana Hoosiers have signed James Blackmon Jr., a college five-star shooting guard, on Thursday night over offers from Kentucky, Michigan, Michigan State and Kansas. The decisions to stay in Indiana says it all, friends say.
“Coach [Tom] Crean recruited me as a priority, and I think I can make the biggest impact at IU,” he said.
This is a huge in-state pickup for Crean, who lost Blackmon’s original commitment in August. Blackmon’s decision says a lot about the positive approach Crean and his staff took after the decommitment, and the Hoosiers’ effort paid off by landing him.
Blackmon, the No. 19 player in the ESPN 100, is a smart and smooth shooting guard who has a quick trigger and deep range. He also can slide over and play the point guard position flawlessly because of his ability to handle the ball, as well as his high basketball IQ and feel for the game.
Blackmon, who had been committed to play in Bloomington for three years, surprisingly reopened his recruitment in August. The 5-star guard, considered the 12th-best shooting guard in the nation by 247 Sports’ composite rankings, was then bombarded with a series of offers coming from all across the college basketball landscape.
In the end, he settled on five finalists: Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Baylor and Connecticut. But as the process wore on, it became clear that it was a two-horse battle between Indiana and Kentucky. John Calipari himself is credited by 247 Sports with trying to close the deal with Blackmon, attempting to add another great player to his war chest of talent.