Blackmon withdraws from draft, will return to IU #iubb

James Blackmon Jr.’s NBA Draft process has run its course.

An Indiana spokesman confirmed Wednesday that Blackmon has withdrawn from the draft and will return to Indiana for his junior season, giving the Hoosiers a potential primary scoring threat in their backcourt.

The deadline to withdraw from the draft is tonight at 11:59 p.m. Now, the Hoosiers are waiting on an official decision from Troy Williams.

Blackmon announced late last month that he would test the waters of the NBA, using the process to interview with NBA front office personnel and receive the kind of direct feedback that is only afforded to those who declare for the draft. Five months removed from January surgery to repair a torn ACL in his right knee, Blackmon was unable to work out for NBA teams, but expects to be cleared for full-court workouts at Indiana this summer.

After his knee injury robbed him of the final 22 games of his sophomore year, the upcoming season will be crucial for Blackmon and his draft stock. Although he has shown he can score with his jumper — he averaged 15.8 points and shot 46 percent from 3-point range across the 13 games he played last year — there are different dimensions to his game that Blackmon must unlock.

Offensively, he could benefit from earning his way to the free throw line with more regularity. Blackmon went 23-for-27 at the line last season, averaging 2.1 attempts per game. Defense remains Blackmon’s greatest weakness, and he would surely boost his stock should he show that he can adequately and consistently keep ball-handlers in front of him. A tremendous chip on his shoulder may give Blackmon the boost he needs.

As Blackmon looks to tap into his professional potential, his health remains at least a minor concern.

The ACL tear in his right knee, which Blackmon suffered days prior to Indiana’s Big Ten opener in late December, is his third knee injury in nearly four years. Blackmon tore the ACL in his left knee during his sophomore year of high school and underwent a procedure to repair a torn meniscus in that same knee last July.

This story will be updated.

One comment

  1. A real opportunity for James to show leadership. He can do that by greatly improving his defensive skills. Scoring will never be an issue for James, but defense and decision making are liabilities that need to be corrected for him to play in the NBA. If he works very hard at this, it will send the right message to his teammates and coaches

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