Blackmon signing with agent, will remain in draft

Indiana guard James Blackmon Jr.’s college career is over.

The 6-foot-4 junior made his decision official Monday afternoon on Twitter, announcing his intent to sign with an agent and remain in the 2017 NBA Draft.

He becomes the third player to leave the Hoosiers early to enter the draft this spring, joining OG Anunoby and Thomas Bryant. Anunoby is a likely first-round pick and Bryant a likely second-round pick, but no current NBA Draft projections have Blackmon being selected.

“After much reflection and discussion with my family, I have decided to remain in the 2017 NBA Draft and sign with an agent,” Blackmon posted. “After graduating Indiana in three years, I am thrilled to take the next step in my basketball career and pursue a lifelong dream. The past three years have been an amazing ride. Through blood, sweat and tears, putting on that Indiana jersey every game and playing in front of diehard Indiana fans was an honor and privilege. The past three years have brought memories and relationships I will never forget. Bloomington will always have a special place in my heart.”

Blackmon walked at graduation on Saturday, but has not yet actually graduated according to a university release listing student-athletes eligible for 2017 May/August graduation.

The former McDonald’s All-American from Marion averaged a career-high 17.0 points per game to go with 4.8 rebounds on his way to third team All-Big Ten honors from the media and honorable mention from the coaches this past year. He also made a career-best 91 3-pointers, which is the second-most in a single season behind only Steve Alford’s 107 in 1986-87, and shot 41.5 percent from 3 despite missing four games due to injury. In all, Blackmon missed 27 career games due to injury at IU.

Blackmon finishes with 1,235 career points, good for 33rd on the all-time list at Indiana, and his 205 career 3-pointers rank fourth behind only A.J. Guyton (283), Yogi Ferrell (272) and Jordan Hulls (254).

“I would like to thank my family for being there through all of the ups and downs,” Blackmon’s Twitter post said. “I would like to thank my teammates, who have become brothers to me, for pushing me every day. I would like to thank the fans and everyone who has supported me throughout my career at Indiana University. I would like to thank God for allowing me to play a game I love.”

Blackmon’s departure means that the Indiana roster is currently at its maximum of 13 scholarship players with the decision of 2017 signees Al Durham Jr., Clifton Moore and Justin Smith to remain with the Hoosiers after the firing of Tom Crean and hiring of Archie Miller as head coach.

That leaves only junior guard Robert Johnson undecided about his future at Indiana. Johnson also submitted his name for early entry into the NBA Draft, but has not signed with an agent. The deadline for a player to decide to return to school is May 24.

52 comments

  1. This is the right move for James. We know he is a premier shooter and I wish him good luck as he pursues his pro ambitions. I do not believe his stock would be any higher if he stayed for his senior year. Perhaps Archie could help improve his defense, ball handling and decision making, but I doubt it and now we will never know. Johnson should surely return which will help with scoring. Looking at the roster, it is hard to get a grasp on where the offense will come from. Nevertheless, it will be an interesting transition year for IU basketball.

  2. If CTC had retained the I U Basketball Coaching position, he would be in the same roster position, less Hartman, that we are in now. It’s now really apparent how poorly CTC had positioned team for the 2017-18 season. Now, its apparent that Archie Miller wasn’t left a championship roster, and will have his work cut out for him . No wonder that Archie and his staff are working their tails off to get some talent in for the 2018-19 roster.

  3. Hoosier Hopeful, whatever the transition period is, I think its going to take a few years before IU basketball gets through it. It would be appropriate for Hoosier fans to keep our expectations realistic. We may instantly fall in love with the style of play that Archie implements, but it’s going to take a while before he can get the talent necessary to go beyond the pedestrian accomplishments, like Big Ten Championships and Sweet 16 appearances, that Tom Crean produced. I think Archie is going to be a great coach and will eventually lead IU back to the promised land, but none of the elite college coaches are due to retire next season. And as long as those guys remain at Duke, UNC, Kentucky, Louisville, MSU, and Arizona, etc., IU is not going to be one of the top five destinations in the country for the best High School basketball talent. Those guys have had decades to build and maintain their recruiting pipelines, so until they begin to retire, or their schools get busted for major violations (i.e., UNC’s academic fraud and Louisville’s hooker parties), Archie’s got his work cut out for him. I just hope he can do enough to keep from becoming a victim of The Hoosier Nation’s extremely high expectations.

  4. Don’t know if I’d call Villanova a top destination…They still won a championship.

    Don’t know if I’d really call Butler a top destination when Stevens took them to back-to-back championship games. Now they’re basically where they were before Stevens took them to almost ‘promise land.’

    As far as recruitment ties to the state of Indiana, Crean left IU looking like more a nobody than could have ever been imagined. He located some undervalued talent and sold the IU name to lure them in. And if there were any legit Indiana high school ballers still interested in wearing candy stripes(though not being heavily recruited by Crean) it would quickly be quelled by witnessing the many coaching debacles on full display during March Madness.

    Archie will have to make good with what he has left….I only know one thing for certain, he will not chase invisible demons nor make any excuses. Archie will never claim Crean wrecked recruiting in the state of Indiana. That being said, we all know, outside of Zeller saving Tom’s butt, it’s been a negligent last four years at best. Crean is the worst coach in the history of the program without his one difference-maker recruit from Washington high school.

  5. Should be interesting to see how Archie can take Crean players and recruits and mold them into his vision. I really don’t know what to expect this season, but lots of new faces will have an opprutunity for seasoning and growth.

  6. I think team attitude will transform to positive meaning getting focus back on college game before NBA.

  7. More like players having confidence that their coach has job security and that the fans and administration are steadfast in their support of him and his program. That luxury is something Crean’s players did not have since IU lost to Syracuse in the Sweet 16. And show me a talent-laden college basketball team whose players don’t have one eye on the NBA from the moment they arrive on campus. There’s just too much money at stake for them not to be thinking about making it to the NBA. These kids place the success of the University’s basketball program a distant second to achieving the financial security necessary to take care of themselves and their families for the rest of their lives. It’s an entirely new world of college basketball, and our paradigm needs to shift accordingly. At least for the elite players, the new paradigm is summarized by, “I’ll focus on the college game as long as it is consistent with my goal of making it to the NBA, but if there is a conflict between my desire to make it to the NBA and the college game, my desire to play in the NBA will take priority.” Given the money involved, I can’t blame any of those young me for thinking that way. And without the kind of talent players who think that way, it’s going to be very difficult to win NCAA Championships.

    1. I’m pretty confident that there wasn’t a single night’s lost sleep because one of the players was worried about CTC’s job security.

    2. Paradigm shift:
      Zeller, VO, Vonleh, OG, Bryant and JBJ has been happening since Jr. Gordon. No initiation was needed as it is player driven.

  8. Looks like some of you guys are already going on record predicting the next season (and beyond).

    – Indiana won’t make, or will barely sneak into, the NCAA next year
    – They won’t recruit 5 star talent to B-Town until Archie starts big time winning

    I don’t do predictions, but I like the team we have next year. I think DG is poised to make a huge leap next year. He’s silky smooth. Even Rojo. He’s got a lot of untapped potential. Archie specializes in all the areas both of those guys needs work in (taking care of the ball, decision making). DD is already a beast who they’ll keep on the floor with better positioning on D. I also think Freddie McSwain has the potential to be a sleeper on next years team. Love his aggressiveness.

    Recruiting-wise: I also think the big 5 star players will find their way to Bloomington fairly soon. Ed Schilling got one to go to UCLA to play for a coach with half the accomplishments of Tom Crean. In state coaches and recruits have already expressed being very impressed by the new regime in B-Town.

  9. I always sort of believed that was the inherent meaning of the candy stripes…..

    -Nose to grindstone
    -No excuses
    -Precise as the stark contrast of skill matched with discipline
    -Unique with no concern to imitate
    -Embracing the honor of ‘stripes’ representing team over glorification of ‘self.’
    -Keeping it basketball first. Basketball is the religion of the stripes. Respect and believe in the game. Pursue excellence in its teachings.

    My hope and belief is that Archie will bring honor back to what is truly the embodiment of the candy stripes.

  10. Players in top college programs who were future NBA players focused on playing college bb while they were in respective colleges. Many T.C. players did not. Several IU players were trying to play in NBA while still playing for T.C. at IU rather than their present tasks at hand at IU. It goes to T.C. recruiting the kinds of players he recruited taking what the very best programs did not want plus him not having ability to handle the situation, thus creating the culture he promoted. New coach and eventually new players that are more conducive to college level success will hopefully correct situation.

  11. I’m not predicting anything about next year’s IU basketball team, or the years that follow. I think Archie is the best young coach in the game and will eventually lead IU back to final fours and NCAA Championships. It’s just that it’s going to take some time for him to rebuild the talent pipeline necessary for IU to regain its status as an elite, blue blood basketball program. And that timeline may not be consistent with a lot of Hoosier fans’ expectations. I mean look at his brother Sean’s record. He’s recruited a ton of elite talent in his eight years at Arizona (two players on last season’s roster are projected to be lottery picks in the upcoming NBA draft), yet none of his teams have made it to the final four! If Sean Miller had that record at IU, would he still be employed? I for one would love it if Archie enjoys that same level of success at IU over the next eight seasons. But I suspect that for some of you, that won’t be good enough.

    But the narrative being spread by some on this site that Crean’s players were not focused on playing the college game is hogwash, just made-up nonsense, with no basis in fact. Crean’s handful of NBA-eligble players were as focused and dedicated as any other team’s NBA-eligible players. Don’t tell me that VO was not focused, or that Yogi was not focused, or that Zeller was not focused. They were focused and they were effective. No team is going to win the outright Big Ten Championship without its best players being focused and dedicated. Crean’s best IU teams either didn’t have enough of that elite talent together on the same roster, or were not coached well enough to go as far as we IU fans wanted/expected them to go (final four, etc.). So enough with the bashing of these young men by saying they were not focused on the college game. None of us writing on this site have any idea what it was like to walk in those young mens’ shoes, or what it takes to compete at that level. And at least most of Crean’s elite players either already have their degrees or will go on to get them soon.

  12. T.C. players were not focused on task at hand and T.C. lacked ability to coach task at hand as elite or even acceptable program for IU. Yes, Sean Miller’s record maybe should not be acceptable at IU . Ok for Arizona, not so much at a bb state and school like IU

  13. These qualified statements: “that’s good enough for Arizona, but not IU” are examples of identifying as a fan with some made up quality not set in reality.

    Reality: Arizona’s basketball program since Lute took over has made mince meat of the Hoosiers. They’ve been consistently great. Home winning streaks, conference championships, conference tournament championships, deep tourney runs, FFs and a national championship. Sean Miller has stalled in the Elite 8 a few times. When your program is surrounded by its other successes, fans tend to keep a watchful eye, yet demonstrate a little extra patience. Yes, they don’t suffer missing the tournament every other year. Their tournament misses happened in the transition in Lute awkward retirement, which we later learned was impacted by a stroke he suffered unknowingly.

    Knight, Davis and Crean got an abundance of patience from IU fans. When enough was enough, people started to get more vocal about their displeasure. In the last 20 years, Indiana has been bad, to mediocre to decent. Never great. None of our coaches managed to have a stroke either.

    Perhaps we should stop judging other fan bases with a false sense of superiority, look to our own program and handle our own business. A little humility would go a long way considering how long it’s been since we mattered in college basketball.

    Then again, I don’t identify with the team I root for, or the school I went to such a degree where I can make such wide sweeping claims about an entire group of people’s standards and motivations.

  14. Oh, brother…

    We’ll give you your beautiful weather…We’ll give you your entertainment….We’ll give you the oceans and beaches…We’ll give you the Grand Canyon…We’ll give you the mountains…We’ll give you wonderful skiing….We’ll give you proximity to Vegas…We’ll give you diversity and populations reflecting a true melting pot of origins and ideas.

    But what we won’t give you is the best basketball state in the country with more talent per capita than anywhere else in the nation. That is not Arizona.

    Come on, man.

    1. Maybe one of these days you’ll actually respond to what I actually said versus what you made up in your head.

      Even Ray Bolger is laughing at that straw man.

      1. I’m all for humility….Just not 9 years’ worth with a substitute teacher heading up major basketball program residing in a state with more than an abundance of top talent. Meanwhile, our humility sits in a chair with thumb up butt while other programs lure our best out of the state.

        And stop with your Chet routine….The only people laughing are those who watched Indiana Hoosier basketball fans buy into the charades of the last decade.

        I wasn’t laughing on an April day in 2008….I felt insulted by those in power who stole some of the small joys of life away from the good people of Indiana. I was further insulted when they took away the storied rivalry game between Indiana and Kentucky because grown men were afraid to have egos and resumes put at risk.

        You know what you can do with your humility? Pack it into a cannon and aim at those egos who used our basketball heritage rather than nurtured it and valued it.

        1. I’ve said what I had to say. If you want to address what I said, I’m happy to have a discussion with you. Sans that, you can argue with yourself. You’re not arguing with me because I didn’t say anything you’re responding to.

          1. I’ve got no qualms with you, pilgrim. You’re no apologist….and you are one of the few on here that demanded more than the ugly basketball we were witnessing. Don’t ever think I didn’t notice.
            Without your honest eye, many of the others would likely still be defending the mess. I’m just a straw man and windmill building sort of hillbilly. You were the voice that gave credibility to saying enough with the apologists and the mockery being made of Indiana Basketball.

          2. Reality: Arizona’s basketball program since Lute took over has made mince meat of the Hoosiers.

            How is that a statement in “reality.” We don’t even play in the same conferences. We rarely go head-to-head. Lute as a coach when he was in the BIG? Sure, he’s got a strong mind for the game….and I’m pretty sure he battled the hell out of some of Knight’s best teams. Did he take three banners home to Iowa? Did he have two back-to-back undefeated regulars seasons? Could he have done those things with the name of ‘Indiana’ and the talent available within our borders? I can’t answer any of those questions.

            But to say Sean or Arizona has made minced meat out of Indiana? I can’t agree with that anymore than people who would claim UNC makes minced meat out of Indiana. It’s all rather rooted in bias when you don’t see teams continually play head to head…or you’re attempting to compare programs with turmoil, injury…and suspect coaching against programs that haven’t had frivolous NCAA investigations or people attempting to capitalize from the unbalanced targeting of Indiana.

            Zero tolerance, frivolous NCAA investigations, and witch hunting have made Indiana far more “minced meat” than Arizona, Duke, UNC, UK…or Lute Olsen, Sean Miller, Tom Izzo, etc, etc.

            I have lost no faith in the talent base of Indiana…I still believe some of the best talent in the game can be found in Indiana and very near our borders(including Chicago). And thus, I think we could bounce back very quickly and make minced meat out of whomever or whatever programs any of you find an alternative soft spot in your heart not named Indiana.

  15. But you’re right about not being ‘great’ (in terms of decisions to placing personnel in Bloomington to harness the true basketball potential of the state).

    For a good part of the last 20 years, we have been an unguarded basketball candy store ravaged of post players and top Indiana talent providing dozens of the best b-ball colleges throughout the Midwest and beyond with the studs required to build the foundation of a solid March bracket house.

    The flaw of ‘Indiana’ has never been in the state’s ability to be a hotbed for talent(Did you see Coach K at Romeo Langford’s most recent Adidas tournament ?).
    The flaw has been in taking it all for granted and hiring windbags rather than intelligent and genuine teachers of the game interested in more than using our history to validate their wind.

    Hopefully, the last decade is the final insult and we can get back to being attractive to more than trapeze acts and A-Hope projects that are fun roulette wheels for an NBA betting game. Maybe we can become attractive again to the Indiana elite talent and their coaches who knew Indiana University had grown complacent under those five banners ….and became willing to throw history away on salesman and slogans more than substance.

  16. Good post DD. But some IU fans want it both ways. Either the standard for IU basketball is final fours and NCAA Championships, i.e., returning our beloved program to the ranks of the elite, or its not. So according to those fans, Sean Miller’s record at Arizona would be unacceptable. That seems ludicrous to me, and extremely unfair to Archie, or any other coach that takes over the IU program. Given the way the program, and IU’s Athletic Department in general, was terribly mismanaged for decades preceding Crean’s hiring, placing unreasonable expectations on the new coach risks exacerbating those mistakes. IU can definitely return to the ranks of the elite and recapture its blue blood status, but its going to take time and a concerted effort by everyone involved, not just the coaching staff, to rebuild what was so foolishly forfeited. Hoosier basketball fans need to temper their expectations about the amount of time it’s going to take Archie to lead IU basketball all the way back.

  17. I’m all for giving Archie plenty of time…..Anything is better than lunacy, charades, and cue cards.

    I won’t give him plenty of time to stop with extreme soft scheduling.
    I won’t give him plenty of time to restore the UK vs. Indiana rivalry.
    I won’t give him plenty of time if he begins to qualify every loss with “we’re young”…or “it’s a process.”
    I won’t give him plenty of time if he uses the images and name of ‘Indiana Basketball’ as a platform to stop global warming….or other personal missions having nothing to do with returning Indiana basketball program back to respectability.
    I won’t give him plenty of time if I watch games with 15 – 20 turnovers as the norm.

    I can give you dozens more, but that’s enough for now.

  18. Arizona is and has been an excellent bb program for a lot of years. Referring to Arizona in the last 8 years under Sean Miller with no final 4 and stalling in a few final 8’s is really good for Arizona. That would be really good for Mich State, Maryland, O.S.U., and really really great at Purdue (Just Purduish), and really really great among most schools. HOWEVER, IT JUST SEEMS OH HUM BORING FOR THE INDIANA HOOSIERS. IT WOULD SEEM APPROPRIATE FOR A FINAL FOUR OR 2 AND A MARCH MADNESS CHAMPIONSHIP ALONG WITH A COUPLE BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIPS IN THAT 8 YEAR PERIOD IF SEAN WAS AT IU. IT IS CALLED GREAT EXPECTATIONS.

  19. Why would Sean Miller’s record at Arizona be “ho-hum” for Indiana? Are you basing your standards on a level of success IU last achieved 30 years ago? That’s ancient history. Arizona has won an NCAA Basketball Championship much more recently than IU (1997). And from 1985 through 2009, they went to the NCAA Tournament 25 consecutive times. Not even Bob Knight accomplished that. If your standards are based on the recent history of the respective programs, Arizona is a much more successful basketball program than IU. And yet Sean Miller is in no jeopardy of losing his job any time soon. That’s my point about some Hoosier basketball fans having unrealistic expectations. It’s based on ancient history and ignores the damage done to the program by incompetent administrators for much of the last three decades. And I assure you that if Archie achieves the same level of success at IU over the next eight years that his older brother has enjoyed at AZ, and then he gets fired for not leading IU to the final four, IU will have a very hard time finding top-quality candidates to replace him. In fact, if Archie is as successful as his older brother is, IU will have to survive a bidding war with the blue-blood programs just to keep him in Bloomington.

    The University of Chicago was a major power in college football for decades in the first half of the 20th century and the founding member of The Big Ten Conference. Can you imagine the school announcing that they want to re-join the Big Ten Conference and then hear Maroons’ alumni announce that they expect their alma mater to compete for FBS national championships within a few years? That would be equally unrealistic because it would ignore all the history since the school was last successful.

  20. Strictly talking about last 8 years regarding Arizona since you started comment, with you would be so happy having Sean Miller’s record at IU last 8 years. You have Tom Crean satisfaction and I did not get any Tom Crean satisfaction nor do I or would I get much satisfaction of stalling out elite 8 as good as it gets over 8 year period.

  21. Seems that the herd has really thinned out at the Scoop. Little more then a handful of regulars left. Too bad as this place has potential to be special.

  22. There is a herd thinner on the Scoop. Check the activity on here when he was banned compared to the activity when he is active.

    1. I’ve just arrived from overseas Chet, so I’ll take your word for it. It’s always been on par and honest. I do remember the ban. All I can say is maybe one day we will have the option to block people like some sites offer.

      Don’t give up. I for one enjoy your thoughtout posts with humor in the cracks. It will sort itself out one day either with a permanent ban or different leadership concerning the vision of the blog. Hope your wife is doing ok.

      1. Thank you, Ben. She is awesome. She will never surrender an inch and will brighten your day in the process. I’ve never appreciated her more.

  23. For one Isaiah Thomas there are millions with no leaping ability or speed who are forced to stare at bellybuttons in a game of five on five. The bros at the backyard stadium are soon seen as cyclops ballers as the face of the defender gets smashed against a sweat wall without a nose. It takes its toll.
    Wrestling begins to appear as a great alternative….Spandex tights shall cover the hideous slapping of the belly’s eye never escaped in a game of hoops. Classes of weight take the mind off of classes of height.

  24. t, you have to consider context, and it’s just too easy for IU fans to forget the damage done to IU Athletics, especially basketball over the last 30 years. But to answer your question, yes, I will be delighted if Archie is as successful over the next eight years as Sean has been at Arizona. Will I be satisfied? No, of course not. Like all rabid college sports fans, I want my alma mater to win every national championship in every sport, every year. But if Archie matches his brother’s level of success over the next eight years at IU, I would certainly not call for him to be fired because he failed to lead IU basketball to the final four or win a national championship! Given the history of the program in the last 30 years, that level of consistent achievement achieved at Arizona, while not being ultimate, would certainly be acceptable. And I assure you, if Archie leads IU to a Big Ten Championship and an elite eight within the next five seasons, IU will have to give him a new contract with a much higher compensation package, or risk him being poached by a blue blood program who would not hesitate to pay him a lot more money than IU will be paying him at that time.

    And for the record, I was NOT totally satisfied with Tom Crean. Some aspects of his behavior as a coach drove me crazy. He is not a GREAT college basketball coach. But I did not think spending the money involved in firing him was a good use of IU’s limited Athletic Department budget. And furthermore, I did not think a man who lead his team to two Outright Big Ten Championships in four seasons, and two appearances in the Sweet 16 deserved to be fired. But that’s water under the bridge now, and we move forward with optimism that our new coach will eventually lead IU to greater heights. The key word there being “eventually.”

  25. Tsao always had your number, Podunker. His exquisite writing style allowed all of us quite the view of your Hoosier loyalty.

  26. Po, Two big ten championship in four seasons and 2 appearances in sweet 16 is T.C. satisfaction.

  27. IM here t…….. I just read ..I will say I THINK reason JBJ remains in draft because he worries about another knee injury and if he was going to have another one…might as well get a paycheck as to ruin any chances to play NBA.

  28. Hey t; you think IU is going to do any better than Big Ten Championships and Sweet 16s in the next three seasons? In the mean time, IU is paying Crean $1 million a year until he finds another job. Hope he finds another job real soon, so Glass can apply that money to other priorities, like retaining Allen’s best Assistant Football Coaches or completing the upgrades to Memorial Stadium.

    1. Well, they can’t get much better than a Big Ten championship. I think they have a better than even chance of making it past the Sweet Sixteen.

      I think Archie is smarter than the average bear.

  29. Money falls off trees when those at the top shake the trees. Not saying I agree with it, but that’s the way it is.

  30. I see the narrative has been edited to protect someone who posts in bulk form. I don’t recall anything untoward from the deleted posts. They simply set the record straight.

    Good to you back, Ben. Your deleted posts were already read and spot on. Sometimes things get more attention when they are deleted.

  31. Hoping Harv will let me do the honors for this one:

    EJ UPDATE!

    The Rockets’ Eric Gordon, who allegedly (according to unconfirmed reports) played his college basketball at Indiana, did his best to out-disappear James Harden last night. The oft-injured swingman chipped in with two big baskets in 30 minutes (one of them a banked-in 3 pointer) on the way to his teams’ shocking home court defeat at the hands of an already-depleted Spurs team. It was a performance reminiscent of his final game as a (alleged) Hoosier in the NCAA tournament against Arkansas, minus the slam dunk.

  32. Hey, everybody on the Houston team knew they were not going to beat Golden State in the next round, and they wanted to start their vacations. I’m not saying they purposely tanked the game, but I’m guessing that in their sub-conscious the veterans were hearing that voice whisper, “why bust our humps for another ten days and risk injury when we already know how this is going to turn out. It’s not going to make us significantly wealthier, so we might as well start our summer vacation.”

    1. Probably.

      I’m pretty sure OKC used the same reasoning in the previous round. They were just throwing a bone to Houston.

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