Blackmon pleased with first IU visit after his de-commit

Much has changed since in James Blackmon Jr.’s recruitment since last unofficial visit to Indiana, but the Marion guard said it didn’t feel any different when he visited Bloomington on Friday night.

“It went really well,” Blackmon said. “I just came down to spend some time with the players and the coaches. … It’s been the same relationship, really. They’re still recruiting me, they’re still showing interest.”

Of course, the difference now is that Blackmon is showing interest in other schools. The Class of 2014’s No. 33 recruit had been committed to Indiana since September of 2010 before his freshman year at Fort Wayne Bishop Luers, but de-committed earlier this month just three months before signing day. Since his de-commitment, he’s picked up about 20 scholarship offers and has begun planning visits to other schools.

Still Blackmon said he maintains a good relationship with IU coach Tom Crean, and that nothing seemed different when he shot around with some of IU’s current players during his trip.

“It was really a good time,” Blackmon Jr. said. “I felt comfortable.”

He said none of the players even asked what made him re-open his recruitment

It was important, Blackmon said, for him to visit Indiana first again before going on visits to other schools. He has an unofficial visit scheduled for Michigan State on Sunday, Kentucky on Aug. 29 and Louisville on Aug. 30. He isn’t entirely certain what he’ll do from there and may or may not take all five of his official visits before making a decision.

“I really don’t have a time limit on that,” he said.



  1. What happens if others commit, Blackmon decides he wants IU, no spaces are left and “the barn door is closed?”

    In fact, in general, that raises an interesting question. With the number of offers that are outstanding now, what if everyone decided to say yes at the same time? Suddenly you have, eg, 10 commitments and three spaces? Then what? Will things always, as we have been assured repeatedly, “work out?”

    Note also that Whitehead, for example, seems to fill a similar position to Blackmon and, is higher-rated by most of the rating services. Personally, I’ve liked the idea of Blackmon (Indiana kid, etc.), but either seems a good end result to me.

  2. I’ve always wondered the same thing, WC. How many are conditional offers, and how many are the “you’re the one we want most” offers given to a dozen kids for the same spot? There always seems to me to be an inherent level of dishonesty in recruiting — unless you’re up front and say “hey, the spot is yours unless so-and-so accepts the same offer.” If that were the case, and I wasn’t a kid with my heart set on joining your program- which rarely applies to most elite recruits- I’d probably offer you one of my fingers in return and go on my merry way.

  3. Anyone watch Whitehead and Goodluck tonight?

    They both looked very good in game with top talent and as competitive defense as I’ve ever seen played in an all-star game. Whitehead was the leading scorer in the game doing a bit of everything… Shot a high %, made 4 3’s I think, went strong to the hoop, and even posted up a little bit, en route to at least 24 points. Goodluck blocked several shots, had a few dunks, and was a little bit better ball-handler than I expected. Very good and fluid athlete.

    Would love to have both in candy stripes.

    Pinson also looked good. What a special passer he is. I felt like 75% of the 24 players in the game were targets of IU.

  4. Punjab,

    I’m not sure it is dishonest in the sense that these things are all public. Everyone knows who has an offer, and usually they know within 5 seconds these days because these guys are all on twitter the second they get an offer.

    And, in some respects, the colleges could put a lot more pressure on guys if they made offers the way you suggest (which is not to criticize you – I totally understand your point). For example, if Crean said to two recruits, recruit x and recruit y, “Guys, whoever commits first gets the spot,” that would be pretty darn tough on the kids. They’d then sort of be in the spot of being almost compelled to say yes and then might regret it later.

    And imagine a dishonest coach or recruiter using that to put pressure on a kid falsely.

    I guess the bottom line is that things are always going to be a bit “messy” where the offerors (the Universities) have spaces to fill and the offerees (the high school students getting the offers) can accept but not bind themselves until a particular day and the offerors could get turn downs from one or more of their first choices and could be “hosed” if they don’t have back-up offers, but at the same time, they could get inundated if all say yes at the same time – and they can’t make offers that are somehow contingent, at least not formally.

    To some extent, you could probably derive this all mathematically under the rubric of gaming theory – how you allocate your offers in this sort of a system, etc.

    And honestly, I’m not sure who holds the power position here. I guess one could argue that, once they sign on the dotted line, the students are limited, but until then, they seem to me to hold a lot of the high cards.

    I guess it is a bit like the hot gal who has a ton of guys in pursuit (and/or vice versa, if we want to avoid any hint of sexism).

    The best regulator of the system (at least for the colleges) is probably reputation. If you get a reputation for screwing students over, you’re probably history.

    Reputation would be a bit less of a driver for the kids because they only do this once, but I still think that getting a reputation for, e.g. asking for a coaching job for your Dad as a condition of signing is going to come back and haunt you eventually. IMHO, honesty is usually the best policy.

    And my sense of Tom Crean is that he is hard driving, but an honest person, like his mentor, Tom Izzo. That dosn’t mean that these guys don’t get “torqued” by the idiosyncracies of the system or that things don’t sometimes seem or come out weirdly.

    But re: Crean, witness the fact that (a) Remy Abell is back on campus this week shooting around despite transferring to another school (pretty amazing that he feels comfortable with that, isn’t it!), (b) James Blackmon is back on campus this week despite de-committing (ditto!), (c) Victor Oladipo chooses to come back when he certainly need not do so and practically visibly bleeds Cream and Crimson (e.g. he is clearly loyal as all heck), (d) Dwayne Wade has Crean’s back in similar ways and vice versa, and (e) guys like DJ White and Eric Gordon who didn’t even play for Crean are hanging around (not to mention that Eric Gordon’s brother has joined the program).

    Those things all seem to me to speak to a program that is run decently and with some integrity. And that can’t always be an easy thing to accomplish, so kudos to Crean.

    It would be VERY interesting to get Tom Crean and/or a group of college coaches on a hot seat and get them to honestly discuss this topic on the record. Crean, Izzo, Calipari and Knight would strike me as a panel that could do this justice, Digger Phelps moderating.

    Or just get the hard working Mr. Dopirak to chase em all down and do the definitive story. Dustin?

  5. Blackmon situation is awkward. All these guys want “love”. Just like an ex girlfriend. You want her to always want you but you want to see if there is someone better. I am a little surprised none of the players talked to him about the decommit. Either not true or planned by CTC. Blackmon had to say something positive after the visit. No one says they had a bad visit! This recruitment is over

  6. Excellent points, WC. I didn’t mean to insinuate that recruiting was an entirely dishonest enterprise, just that you have to get a little dirty and maybe not always be as forthright with your target recruits as you’d like. While being entirely open about where a recruit stands (and/or giving a pressure-packed ultimatum to declare now or lose your spot) may garner you respect for your honesty, it may also leave you all too often waiting at the alter for a bride (or groom… No sexism here) that never shows. All in all, it’s a delicate balancing act I’m glad I don’t have to conduct.

  7. Wow! What a damn good post WCH. Refreshing to get a thought-provoking basketball take. I’ve tried it a couple times this offseason, but I must not be very good because they get about 1% of the response of some of the other blech posted in here.

    One point I’d like to address… When you give the scenario early on about the 2 recruits and first-come-first-served scholarship approach, I only think that works in a vacuum. Clearly all the kids that are good enough to get offers from IU are also getting offers from other top schools. I think that they’d be much more likely to be turned off by the ultimatum and reject us immediately than to feel obligated to prematurely commit. There would have to be the same ultimatum at every program for it to have any effect.

    I would live to see a panel discussion with Crean, Izzo, Knight, and Cal… I’ll take Bilas as my moderator, and give him lots of rope to ask tough questions and inject his opinions. Just to have Cal and Knight sitting within 10 feet of eachother would be a spectacle.

  8. WC you make very good points which are also good recruiting positives; except on your panelists—you will NEVER see Calipari and Knight on the same stage in the same state

  9. Well, it’s got to be a matter of the first guys to commit get the scholarships. Otherwise, you are going to have x offers for x scholarships, and what do you do when the recruit hasn’t yet signed a commitment? As WCH noted, these (offers) are public. And I’ve not yet heard that any offers are explicitly made with on the basis of “good until the recruit turns the offer down”. Now an interesting phenomenon would be that a recruit can only “hold” one offer at a time, and until he declines that offer he can’t be given a second by a different school (hardly enforceable). Or do it like medical school residencies, Recruits give their list of schools they will accept an offer from, schools give a list of students they will take and the best match (achieving a mathematical “high point” of offers and acceptances) a match is made for each recruit. Or, as psychology internships are done (or were in the day) offers can’t be made until a predetermined date, the same date for all programs, and the offer is good for n days.

    In any case, there has to be a better way of managing the recruiting process, it make it efficient for all concerned parties.

  10. Calipari and Knight? Judging by Knight’s reaction to Crean’s advances at last year’s Legends Tournament in NYC, you’re dreaming if you believe Knight would even board a same flight with Tom Crean.

    Seems like most of you are avoiding the topic of how the abundance of scholarship offers for so few open slots effects the morale and loyalty your guys already on the roster..Not saying that Knight didn’t run guys off he didn’t like, but the yearly scholarship “crunches” has to communicate some negatives to guys you were begging to sign two years ago. Doesn’t the 6th, 7th, 8th, man down the bench begin to feel cheapened and exceedingly expendable as like chopped liver on the chopping block. Doesn’t the long term erosion in feelings of loyalty from your coach begin to outweigh covering your ass each year by sending out more offers than grams of sugar and additives in a morning bowl of All-American cereal?

    I agree with Jeremy’s piece from a couple weeks back…When you begin to treat these scholarships like choices in the grocers cereal aisle, they loose the sense of loyalty and meaning that should glow with the same pride of a non-athlete getting a letter of acceptance in the mailbox to the university of their dreams. It all begins to feel like a Denny’s restaurant… Bland offerings with lots of hype and pictures and the help constantly turning over.

  11. oops…[lose] the sense of loyalty.

    I’ll stop posting …Too much coffee.

  12. Harvard for Hillbillies,

    You make some very good points. I t0o am bothered by this if Crean is going to do this every year.

  13. Maybe I’m paranoid(over-caffeinated Establishment cocktail headcase), but as loyalty erodes in this shotgun recruiting trend, I’m beginning to wonder if each succeeding year’s four freshman your looking to sign begin to work in collusion?

  14. I wish the hell Coach Crean would offer every 4*-5* recruit in the country every year.

  15. You want Crean to offer every 4 and 5 star every year? Why would he do that? that’s not what he does. There is a reason he doesn’t. A good number of 4 and 5 star guys have off the court issues. Whether it be academics, or something else and Crean doesn’t want those types of guys.

  16. I guess these guys who leave and get cut should be angry at Coach like they were at Coach Knight but guess what they are not angry and they come back to IU to help with camps and weekends or did you miss the fact that Remy was back this past weekend and that Roth has been back several times. That kind of hurts your posts and ideas about them leaving mad and that it will hurt future recruiting. Have you looked at the hundreds of kids reported on ESPN who leave their schools to go some place else. Kids these days are just not loyal to schools as in the past. Sure there are great kids like White,Vic,Gordon,Zeller, and Hulls and many others who love IU like we did and do but those are far and few. Playing time is king of college basketball now. If u go back and look Coach Knight had lots of kids leave because once they got to IU they could not take his abuse but many liked his Boot Camp style of running a program. It helped to build strong young men and teams but is was not for everyone. Coach Crean is trying to build teams with good academics and loyalty and faith and it takes hard work from the players and the Coaches. It is not for everyone either. We still have a core of solid players with others waiting in the wings. Why are you all so paranoid? I have an answer most won’t like. It is because of the tools we old timers did not have that we have now. Computers,Blogs,Txts,Tweets and the media everywhere. All we had was Coach’s words, sports reporters, player interviews, games, weekly TV shows and the newspapers. The world has changed my friends.The information has always been there and if you are an old coach like me you know it. It just never got out so quickly as it does now and a lot of it was covered up before the media could get it. Now everything is under a media and fan microscope for us to debate. I don’t like it but you can’t change it you just have to deal with it and try and get to the truth!!

  17. Southport-

    We had things like phones with long curly cords. We actually spoke to each other with muscles from the jaw. We actually went down the street to knock on a door to ask a friend to hang out. We actually felt the sunshine on our shoulders. We actually didn’t look like vampires and had some amount of skin tone…We actually knew how to show sincerity in a smile rather than post a smiley face.

    Am I surprised so many of these kids are indifferent to where they play as they walk around the world with blank stares…? They’ve all facebooked and tweeted..and texted..and instagrammd..and Xboxed…and ituned..themselves into numb beings onto a flat emotional plane of informational blasé overload.

    Personally, I like kids that get a little pissed off when they’re benched. You do have to keep in mind that forgiveness to the nth degree makes for strong fauxChristian perceptions. I guess I was wrong about Remy. He’s just another cool cat wanting to chill. I was hoping that he’d be different. I was hoping Remy and Cody and Vic would come back and desire to shove candy stripes down Boeheim and Beilein throats rather than have reminiscing kissing parties with the over-hyped past.

    Somewhere down deep in the lost caverns a devilish fiery soul, there are some ballers that still have spines. Guys like A.J. Moye..I do fear for the future of precision and discipline in the game. We’ll watch more and more fade away with the lost art of a fadeaway jumper..No more that enjoy the study fundamentals of the game over fumbling with YouTube creations their proclaimed excellence via their gadgets…And the texting? The texting they’ll be concerned will be less and less the encounter with texts with actual paper pages inside. They actually learn more than the hopscotch quickie hits of your technology, Cracker Jacks, peanut s and a prize, world.

    You’ll know a real human when you see one…. He’ll pass the ball unselfishly to the more opportune chance for a score. He’ll get pissed when he’s benched. He’ll carry a grudge longer than your next mass-text to your 1000 friends.

  18. oops..

    Messed up that last paragraph. Have you noticed how I’ve evolved into paragraphs(at least attempts)?

    You’ll know a real human when you see one…. He’ll pass the ball unselfishly to the more opportune chance for a score. He’ll get pissed when he’s benched. He’ll carry a grudge longer than your next mass-text to your 1000 friends. They’ll actually learn more than the hopscotch quickie-hits of Cracker Jacks, smiley faces, peanuts and a prize, techno-nipple dependent, instant gratification world.

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