James Blackmon Jr. named to McDonald’s All-American Game

James Blackmon Jr. was actually in a McDonald’s in Marion at approximately 6 p.m. Wednesday, cooperating with a local television show when it was announced that he was selected to participate in the McDonald’s All-American Game.

By being part of the game, which will be held April 2 at the United Center in Chicago, the Marion guard and Indiana signee for the Class of 2014 carried on a pair of legacies, one with his future school and one in his family.

“I really can’t describe the feeling,” Blackmon said Wednesday night. “It’s just the feeling of accomplishing one of your lifelong hopes and dreams. I kind of expected it. I knew I put myself in a good position to make it and I worked really hard, but I was really excited to find that out.”

Beyond the simple feeling of personal accomplishment, Blackmon said he was proud to be the fourth Indiana commitment to play in the game in the last four seasons. He joins Cody Zeller (2011), Yogi Ferrell (2012) and Noah Vonleh (2013). He will become the 21st IU player to play in the game. 

“That means a lot to me,” said Blackmon, who is averaging 36.3 points per game at Marion this season and has scored 2,058 career points between there and his time at Fort Wayne Bishop Luers. “IU has a lot of tradition in that game, and with Cody Zeller and Yogi Ferrell and Noah, those guys have all excelled at Indiana. That’s a great path to go by.”

But it means even more for him to follow the path set by his father, James Blackmon Sr. The elder Blackmon not only played in the 1983 contest as a then-high schooler in Marion who was set to play at Kentucky, he actually won the game’s MVP honor. He scored 21 points including the game-winning steal and layup that gave the West a 115-113 win over the East in that year’s game at the Omni in Atlanta, Ga.

“It’s been on my mind for a long time with my dad having played in it,” Blackmon Jr. said. “I always dreamed of playing in it.”

Blackmon, who will play for the East squad, will be facing off against his close friend and AAU teammate Trey Lyles on the West squad. Lyles plays at Arsenal Tech in Indianapolis and has signed with Kentucky after de-committing from Indiana last season. Blackmon and Lyles, who have played together each season in the Fort Wayne-based Spiece travel program each spring and summer, remain close.

“Trey and I were talking about it all day,” Blackmon said. “We were both nervous. I told him, ‘I think you’re a lock,’ and he told me the same, but we were still nervous. It was great to know that both of us made it, because that’s how we planned it.”

2 comments

  1. JBJ is going to be special. I love his game. I heard Crean call him “Jimmy Buckets” on Twitter the other day. That’s a great name for him.

    Anyway, I saw someone post the entire list of Micky D’s All Americans that went to IU. The list is super interesting and a direct correlation to the demise of the Knight era. From ’93 – ’97, every one of them was a bust either by under-performance (Patterson, Reed), legal issues (Sherron) or transfer (Recker, Collier).

    Can you imagine the meltdown that would happen on the internet if that many Micky D’s failed under Crean?

    As an anecdote, I was in Bloomington the year Sherron Wilkerson got booted. For the whole 2nd semester, he just spent it at the Hyper playing anyone who dared walk by his court. I was amazed at how athletic and ripped he was. I played against Kobe in high school and although Sherron was a couple years older, he was way more physically developed (clearly not a better basketball player though).

    File that one under one of the biggest disappointments. I heard that he’s recently turned his life around, so glad to hear that.

    I’m still utterly puzzled by Andre Patterson. What he did to Duke in dropping 39 on them in the NIT tournament back in ’96 was unforgettable. He had all the tools, but he was just plain soft.

    Anyway, so many great names on this list. Here’s to hoping JBJ brings us #6.

    Tom Baker – 1977
    Ray Tolbert – 1977
    Landon Turner – 1978
    Isiah Thomas – 1979
    John Flowers – 1981
    Daryl Thomas – 1983
    Delray Brooks – 1984
    Ricky Calloway – 1985
    Jay Edwards – 1987
    Eric Anderson – 1988
    Greg Graham – 1989
    Pat Graham – 1989
    Damon Bailey – 1990
    Alan Henderson – 1991
    Sherron Wilkerson – 1993
    Andrae Patterson – 1994
    Neil Reed – 1994
    Jason Collier – 1996
    Luke Recker – 1997
    Dane Fife – 1998
    Jared Jeffries – 2000
    Bracey Wright – 2002
    D.J. White – 2004
    Eric Gordon – 2007
    Cody Zeller – 2011
    Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell – 2012
    Noah Vonleh – 2013

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