Before the start of his freshman season of high school basketball, James Blackmon Jr. committed to Tom Crean and the Indiana Hoosiers. Very rarely does this scenario play out with the recruit going on to play for the school he pledged to in the 8th grade. The last one I can remember was Baylor getting a commitment from Perry Jones III. On Thursday, Blackmon made it known that he is officially reopening his recruitment and backing out of his commitment. His reasoning his quite simple, he committed way too early and wants to see what other schools have to offer. Would the Wildcats be interested in his services for 2014?
James Blackmon Jr. already has some ties with the Kentucky program. His father, James Blackmon Sr. played for the Wildcats from 1983-1987. The Marion High School star made a name for himself at Kentucky, and now his son may do the same. Blackmon Jr. is a pure shooter who stands at 6-foot-3 inches tall. He is rated as a 4-star recruit, 46th best player in the 2014 class, and 12th best at his position according to 247Sports.com. Due to his early commitment to the Hoosiers, he does not hold any other offers.
Reportedly, Indiana head coach Tom Crean was accepting of Blackmon’s decision but said he believes he belongs at IU and really wants to coach him. For Blackmon Jr., that’s better than getting shut out all together like former Indiana commit Trey Lyles. Like Blackmon Jr., Lyles committed to Indiana very early in the process and then backed out to look at other options. While Blackmon Jr. says Indiana will be in strong consideration, Lyles was not pursued by Tom Crean after backing out. Lyles is now only considering Kentucky, Louisville, Florida and Butler.
After Blackmon Jr. made his decommitment official, the media firestorm began about his possible interest in Kentucky. He sent a message to his Twitter followers saying he has no leader, and stop the rumors. He also tweets that he has never said he wouldn’t end up at Indiana, and he still loves the place. He’s telling everyone of the Hoosier faithful just what they want to hear. However, it is very rare for a player to re-commit to the same school. It’s understandable why Indiana, or any other college program would want him. He can flat out shoot the rock and put points on the board. In his junior season, he averaged just over 33 points per game. It would be hard to see a player of his caliber escape to a rival.
I can definitely see John Calipari having some interest in pairing Blackmon Jr. with Karl Towns in Kentucky’s 2014 class. The Wildcats have already offered the #1 and #2 shooting guards in the class, Rashad Vaughn and Devin Booker. If Calipari is not confident he can land one or both, he could make a strong push for Blackmon Jr. to make a new home in Lexington. Despite the early signing period being only three months away, Blackmon Jr. still plans on making his decision during that period. This makes me believe he already knows which school he wants to go to and he’s just waiting on the offer to arrive. If John Calipari gives the offer, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Blackmon Jr. carry on a little family tradition.