Report: Blackmon Jr. out for season with knee injury

Kyle Neddenriep of the Indianapolis Star just reported on Twitter that Fort Wayne Bishop Luers coach James Blackmon said his son, Indiana 2014 commitment James Blackmon Jr., is likely out for the season with an injured left knee. Blackmon Sr. said they don’t have MRI results yet, but said he fears his son may have torn his ACL.

Blackmon Jr. suffered the injury Saturday in a game against Arsenal Tech at the Indiana Scholastic Play-By-Play Classic, an event that featured seven Indiana commitments from the Class of 2012 through the Class of 2014.

21 comments

  1. From me as well. My wife blew out her ACL in a martial arts tourney a few years ago. It was a tough rehab but they’re pretty good at that repair these days. All the best in your rehab.

  2. Tough break for the young man. But he’s young and strong. He’ll recover and be better than ever.

    Makes you wonder if playing in all these extra all-star and AAU games is worth the risk? These kids play so many games year round, I wonder if their young bodies get a chance to rest and heal. My oldest daughter did the same thing in soccer while in High School. Played the highest level club, played on the State’s ODP team, and played every game for her High School team. She went from one team to the next with hardly a day’s rest in between. She was very good, so she was in great demand from all the coaches. Now, in her mid 20’s she has chronic back problems.

    If I had to do it over again, I would have listened to my instincts and forced her to reduce the number of games she played and given her a couple of six-week breaks each year so that her young body could rest and heal. Yes, she played college soccer, but I’ll feel guilty about her back problems for the rest of my life.

  3. My instant reaction was the same as Podunker’s…to question the effect of a year ’round schedule on these kids’ bodies. I’m a big one for proof, and I’ve none, but the number of games sure seems risky (and, of course, is but one of a host of problems wrought by the evil monster that is summer basketball).

    In any event, a shout out to James with the hope his rehab is quick and complete.

  4. Before there was organized summer ball, these players were probably playing pick up games at the neighborhood park. I would much rather have them a part of an organized AAU program. At least they would have adult supervision and would be workng on improving their skills.

  5. Oh my, yes, because the advent of summer basketball has done so much for kids’ fundamentals compared to 25 years ago.

    If you couldn’t tell, that was written with sarcasm.

    As for a comparison between playing pick-up games 25 years ago to organized basketball today, there is no comparison. The intensity and amount of activity and stress on players is much greater now. (And, by the way, I was being a bit deferential about the issue of proof…much proof is in fact accumulating about the impact of year ’round organized sports on injuries.)

    And none of this even includes the ethical problems that aau basketball has brought to college recruiting.

    However, perhaps you’re an ardent defender of aau, in which case I’ll never change your mind. Yet, tou’ll never change my mind, either, in its certainty that college and even professional basketball would be much, much better without it.

  6. AAU rant part 1…

    Ugh, here we go… Not sure if I have the energy for the AAU argument.  Unfortunately it just needs to be said:

    AAU is the worst thing to happen to basketball in the history of the sport.  Hands down. And there isn’t even a close second.

    I am 36, so I was in HS just as AAU started to become popular at at national level.  I spent my youth going to to basketball camps every summer – at least 4 per summer.  That is where skills were worked on.  And because all the good players were going to camps there was also a very good level of competition.  Another one of the awesome things about camps were getting to meet, play for, and take instruction from my heroes…  I would go to 2 sessions per summer of FSU basketball camp and learn from Pat Kennedy, have daily stations with George McCloud and Brad Johnson, and get speeches from some famous NBA player.  When I went to Arkansas camp my 3-on-3 coach was Oliver Miller, my 5-on-5 coach was Lee Mayberry, and my best friend’s 5-on-5 coach was Todd Day.  In drills we would hang on every word these guys said because we wanted to be just like them.  At the high school camps a natural pecking order would start to form from the kids in the community, the coaches would get to teach the fundamentals and kids would get a chance to be more familiar with each other on the court.  I also remember one HS camp that was directed and ran very hands-on by Harry Sheehy, who might not be a recognizable name to many of you, but his basketball resume is worth looking up.  Getting 6 hours of direct instruction from him for 5 straight days for 3 summers in a row was invaluable.  

    I loved summer basketball camps and every summer I always got considerably better.  It also gave me a chance to go to Mike Martin’s baseball camp, and Tatu’s soccer camp, and fit in a tennis camp for a couple summers.  And once I became a sophomore and got my license I was able to go to Dove Park in Grapevine, TX and play pick-up for 3 hours mon-thurs nights and sat and sun mornings.  Pick-up against men and ex-college players and football players.  That makes you considerably tougher.

  7. Part 2….

    So on to AAU… By my junior year it was starting to buzz a little.  I played some and a few guys from my HS team made a really good Dallas area team and played a lot more.  When I moved back up here to Maine it took a couple more years to catch on, but by the time my little brother was a junior he was playing AAU, but it wasn’t quite like it is now, it was a little less all-star-grab and more how many guys can we get from our HS team to play together and let’s get that many good players from the next school over and go play some games.  It’s much more organized now and this gross monster.  When I played we basically had to organize the team and then find a parent or coach to run the team and it was just a chance to play some more refereed games.

    By the time the late 90’s rolled around AAU was in full swing, and anyone who was anyone was playing for one of a couple teams. It left all the players who weren’t that good to make a choice… Do I play on a crappy team, go to a summer camp that no good players or my friends will be at, or do I find something else to do this summer.  So while the best players were now getting in a lot of games, they weren’t necessarily getting an equal amount of skill work, and many of the mediocre or under-developed players weren’t doing as much if anything to get better during the summers.  For a few years there was no real question about which team players had more allegiance to, their school or their AAU team – it was the school.  So HS coaches still had a lot of power and many, including me were frustrated by the type of people who were coaching our kids – not only how they were coaching them, but what they were coaching them.  They would come back and we’d see these new bad habits that we’d have to now spend time and energy breaking.  Over the last few years it seems that the balance of power has shifted a bit… Now it’s the AAU coaches with the connections to college coaches and everyone is traveling all over the US to play games.  I know a couple of the top AAU coaches in Maine and their basketball coaching ability is embarrassing, however they are these weird egomaniacs that have forced their way into relationships with recruiters and coaches and now seem to have this strange hold over the kids.  A lot of the time it is a constant holding-over-their-head that if they leave their AAU program the kids won’t have access to their network and won’t get the college opportunities.  So kids stay, and parents put up with the weirdos, and the play gets worse and worse every year.  

    Now before you start to snicker and dismiss this because it’s Maine… Maine is a basketball crazy state – maybe second only to Indiana.  Sports Illustrated has documented this before.  This past summer our AAU teams won 2 (TWO!) national championships – Boys U17 and Girls U14.  Obviously we don’t have the most gifted athletes, but when you put the best players from the state all on one team we have enough athleticism to compete, but it’s our fundamentals that generally set us apart in these AAU competitions. So now that I’ve built up Maine basketball I’m going to tear down its best AAU program that just won the National Title…  The individual players are actually pretty good and many of them will be on scholarship next season, but the coach and style of play is absolutely brutal.  This coach screams and swears at his players regularly. He puts them in a 2-3 zone most of the time to hide their lack of comparable size and athleticism.  And the offense he runs is the grossest thing I’ve ever witnessed.  He runs a 5-out spread that looks a lot like the old 4-corners offense, and he just weaves his guards, essentially iso’ing them at the hash and then having them try to drive middle one-on-one, then either score or kick-out to the corner for a 3 if one of those defenders had to help, or just kick out to one of the hash marks and do it all over again.  He literally runs that offense 90% of the time, and then 10% of the time he’ll run a set to get a shot.

  8. I got away from AAU basketball when my kids decided to take their sports another direction. If a kid wants to wrestle in college it’s all about the ‘off season’ tournaments. Kids would come to these tournaments fresh from from winning their own state championships only to get their butts handed to them. College coaches don’t care squat about your high school deeds. Where did you finish at Fargo?

    It’s just where sports have gone. Good, bad, or otherwise.

  9. Part 3…

    My men’s league teams have played against his older teams in summer leagues throughout the years (because he enters them in our men’s leagues) and it just is embarrassing to watch this guy in action.  He screams at his kids because they are getting pounded by a bunch of ex-college players, screaming at us if he ever takes exception to whatever in his mind isn’t basketball, telling kids they’ll never play at the next level because they suck or don’t listen or can’t stop a guy 2″ taller, 40 lbs heavier, and already played 4 years of college ball… Embarassing.  

    I also just witnessed this clown getting kicked out of a HS basketball game… They had to stop the game and have a cop remove him… Because he was berating an official from the first row, center court because he didn’t like how one of his AAU guys was being officiated.   The coach of the home team used to play for this idiot and was even clapping as he got booted.  

  10. Geoff, Even though I do not have your BB experiences growing up I do share what you profess about camps and AAU. The AAU outsiders having a need to preen their own feathers maybe have not necessarily been bad for the sport but in many cases certainly not good for the participants. Can it be changed?

  11. I Just got Geoff’s e-mail. I’ll post all of it. Let’s see if it works.

    Ugh, here we go… Not sure if I have the energy for the AAU argument. Unfortunately it just needs to be said:

    AAU is the worst thing to happen to basketball in the history of the sport. Hands down. And there isn’t even a close second.

    I am 36, so I was in HS just as AAU started to become popular at at national level. I spent my youth going to to basketball camps every summer – at least 4 per summer. That is where skills were worked on. And because all the good players were going to camps there was also a very good level of competition. Another one of the awesome things about camps were getting to meet, play for, and take instruction from my heroes… I would go to 2 sessions per summer of FSU basketball camp and learn from Pat Kennedy, have daily stations with George McCloud and Brad Johnson, and get speeches from some famous NBA player. When I went to Arkansas camp my 3-on-3 coach was Oliver Miller, my 5-on-5 coach was Lee Mayberry, and my best friend’s 5-on-5 coach was Todd Day. In drills we would hang on every word these guys said because we wanted to be just like them. At the high school camps a natural pecking order would start to form from the kids in the community, the coaches would get to teach the fundamentals and kids would get a chance to be more familiar with each other on the court. I also remember one HS camp that was directed and ran very hands-on by Harry Sheehy, who might not be a recognizable name to many of you, but his basketball resume is worth looking up. Getting 6 hours of direct instruction from him for 5 straight days for 3 summers in a row was invaluable.

    I loved summer basketball camps and every summer I always got considerably better. It also gave me a chance to go to Mike Martin’s baseball camp, and Tatu’s soccer camp, and fit in a tennis camp for a couple summers. And once I became a sophomore and got my license I was able to go to Dove Park in Grapevine, TX and play pick-up for 3 hours mon-thurs nights and sat and sun mornings. Pick-up against men and ex-college players and football players. That makes you considerably tougher.

    So on to AAU… By my junior year it was starting to buzz a little. I played some and a few guys from my HS team made a really good Dallas area team and played a lot more. When I moved back up here to Maine it took a couple more years to catch on, but by the time my little brother was a junior he was playing AAU, but it wasn’t quite like it is now, it was a little less all-star-grab and more how many guys can we get from our HS team to play together and let’s get that many good players from the next school over and go play some games. It’s much more organized now and this gross monster. When I played we basically had to organize the team and then find a parent or coach to run the team and it was just a chance to play some more refereed games.

    By the time the late 90’s rolled around AAU was in full swing, and anyone who was anyone was playing for one of a couple teams. It left all the players who weren’t that good to make a choice… Do I play on a crappy team, go to a summer camp that no good players or my friends will be at, or do I find something else to do this summer. So while the best players were now getting in a lot of games, they weren’t necessarily getting an equal amount of skill work, and many of the mediocre or under-developed players weren’t doing as much if anything to get better during the summers. For a few years there was no real question about which team players had more allegiance to, their school or their AAU team – it was the school. So HS coaches still had a lot of power and many, including me were frustrated by the type of people who were coaching our kids – not only how they were coaching them, but what they were coaching them. They would come back and we’d see these new bad habits that we’d have to now spend time and energy breaking. Over the last few years it seems that the balance of power has shifted a bit… Now it’s the AAU coaches with the connections to college coaches and everyone is traveling all over the US to play games. I know a couple of the top AAU coaches in Maine and their basketball coaching ability is embarrassing, however they are these weird egomaniacs that have forced their way into relationships with recruiters and coaches and now seem to have this strange hold over the kids. A lot of the time it is a constant holding-over-their-head that if they leave their AAU program the kids won’t have access to their network and won’t get the college opportunities. So kids stay, and parents put up with the weirdos, and the play gets worse and worse every year.

    Now before you start to snicker and dismiss this because it’s Maine… Maine is a basketball crazy state – maybe second only to Indiana. Sports Illustrated has documented this before. This past summer our AAU teams won 2 (TWO!) national championships – Boys U17 and Girls U14. Obviously we don’t have the most gifted athletes, but when you put the best players from the state all on one team we have enough athleticism to compete, but it’s our fundamentals that generally set us apart in these AAU competitions. So now that I’ve built up Maine basketball I’m going to tear down its best AAU program that just won the National Title… The individual players are actually pretty good and many of them will be on scholarship next season, but the coach and style of play is absolutely brutal. This coach screams and swears at his players regularly. He puts them in a 2-3 zone most of the time to hide their lack of comparable size and athleticism. And the offense he runs is the grossest thing I’ve ever witnessed. He runs a 5-out spread that looks a lot like the old 4-corners offense, and he just weaves his guards, essentially iso’ing them at the hash and then having them try to drive middle one-on-one, then either score or kick-out to the corner for a 3 if one of those defenders had to help, or just kick out to one of the hash marks and do it all over again. He literally runs that offense 90% of the time, and then 10% of the time he’ll run a set to get a shot.

    My men’s league teams have played against his older teams in summer leagues throughout the years (because he enters them in our men’s leagues) and it just is embarrassing to watch this guy in action. He screams at his kids because they are getting pounded by a bunch of ex-college players, screaming at us if he ever takes exception to whatever in his mind isn’t basketball, telling kids they’ll never play at the next level because they suck or don’t listen or can’t stop a guy 2″ taller, 40 lbs heavier, and already played 4 years of college ball… Embarassing.

    I also just witnessed this clown getting kicked out of a HS basketball game… They had to stop the game and have a cop remove him… Because he was berating an official from the first row, center court because he didn’t like how one of his AAU guys was being officiated. The coach of the home team used to play for this idiot and was even clapping as he got booted.

    So this is just one example of this crap, in one state, but I’ve seen it in a few places, and if this is the type of coach, and system that wins Boy’s U17 National Championships… Oh my… It’s even worse than I thought.

    The only good thing about AAU as a whole, is for the individual on a strictly exposure level. It gives kids a chance to show off their abilities in forums that weren’t previously available to everyone. However, it certainly isn’t making the players better, just exposing them. The kids on this team all seem to have personal trainers and coaches and keys to gyms so they can do skill work on their own, or work on their body with a specialist.

    I’m not saying that ALL these AAU coaches are bad, or that none of them work on skill breakdowns, but overall the AAU system is a joke, and it has decreased the level of skill both by favoring games over practice and the unintended effects it’s had on players not involved with AAU by limiting their opportunities or interest in getting better.

  12. Geoff-

    I enjoyed your post immensely. Don’t apologize. Long ago I wrote some critical comments aimed at AAU ball that received a lot of backlash. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the “needed to be said” affirmation from Dustin. Indiana Elite is truly treated with an elitism mentality around Bloomington. I have to admit that recruiting a talented Kentucky kid named Remy that came outside the clan of an overly controlling AAU force, restored a bit of my hope that our coach is not totally in the hip pocket of power-hungry agents, ex-players that never made much impact on the floor but now see fit to use their radio personality as avenue to dig in their nails and boast of influence(Dakich never stopped with his blabbering how close his ties to the Zeller family), and sons of AAU coaches(now moved westward) that were given obscure job positions within IU hoops…Everyone wants a piece of the pie. Too many personalities meddling in college hoops. Very dangerous territory in terms of how the NCAA can look at empowered groups having too much recruiting influence.

    I believe that 90% of a teenagers’ organized ball should be played in his high school uniform.

    The main thrust of my comments many moons ago centered around the power angles you touched upon..I also felt that the AAU programs contribute to a destruction of camaraderie, brotherhood, rivalry, and passion for the storied traditions found in Indiana high school basketball.

  13. Geoff

    I enjoyed your post. It was enlightening as well as interesting. No, it was not too long. Personally, I thought it should have been even longer as most of us only see the games/results and are not aware of the surrounding circumstance.

    On a different note: growing kids should have at least 2 four week periods a year with no organized basketball. Their bodies and minds need R&R from organized basketball to heal and become recharged.

  14. To be fair to Dustin he didn’t give me “needed to be said” affirmation. That was the first line of my post, he simply wrote the first sentence and then reposted what I sent him. Maybe that will spur a little more discussion if people don’t think they are going against DD.

    I liked to hear your spin on things from the Indiana and Elite perspective. I get hints of that stuff and the politics involved from the variety of stories that come out, but it always leaves you to put together the puzzle.

    That being said, I think that the highest levels of AAU have a whole different set of problems than what I was really trying to get at. We see the glamorized teams like Elite and Ballerz that are in the spotlight, but for every one of those programs there are 100 that perpetuate some different issues of poor coaching, poor organization, money grabbing, zero time spent on fundamentals, etc…

    More later, or upon request…(ha)

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