James Blackmon Jr. made the most of Team USA experience

INDIANAPOLIS — James Blackmon Jr. was close, oh so close to wearing the Red, White and Blue.

The Fort Wayne Luers rising sophomore guard who is already committed to Indiana for the Class of 2014 was one of the 27 players invited to try out in June for the 16-and-under United States national team.

But he wasn’t one of the 12 that made it.

Still, Blackmon said at this weekend’s Adidas Invitational that he could take the good out of his Team USA experience, as brief as it was to this point.

“It was a lot of competition,” Blackmon Jr. said. “There were a lot of good players I went up against. It just showed me where I was and what I need to work on. It was a great experience for me.”

It helped him in large part, Blackmon said, because the tryouts included a lot of skill development exercises. There were games, sure, but a lot of it was drill work. Honing strengths and repairing weaknesses.

“They try to work on your individual skills and what you need to do better,” Blackmon said. Just to get your game better and to play for the country. … I think I got better. I’m a good point guard, but I think I got a little bit better on that. I think I could play point guard or shooting guard.”

Playing his summer ball with the Spiece 16 and Under Squad he’s had to — and been able to — do both. The squad also includes Brebeuf Jesuit’s P.J. Thompson and Evansville Bosse’s Jaquan Lyle, both of whom are receiving interest from Indiana for the Class of 2014. Blackmon, a 6-foot-2, 175-pounder can at times sit back and be a spot-up shooter, but he’s getting better at handling the basketball and creating his own shot.

The Team USA experience was part of that transition.

“He’s actually working harder,” said Spiece coach Reynardo Bluiett. “It seems like he’s putting the work in on pull-up shots and creating off the dribble. I see him continuously trying to work on his game. Even though he’s committed, he hasn’t rested. And that’s the big thing with kids.”

One comment

  1. Blackmon is still at FT. Wayne Bishop Luers. Blackmon Sr. Didn’t take the job at Marion.

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