Former Bishop Luers star James Blackmon Jr. will head in a different direction for his final high school season, going with his father and coach – James Blackmon Sr. – to Marion.
But the senior-to-be is still set on his college choice – Indiana – and is trying to reel some friends to Bloomington, as well.
Although one AAU teammate, Trey Lyles, decommitted from IU in the summer of 2012, Blackmon is working to get a couple more in-state recruits to IU.
Those players, JaQuan Lyle of Evansville Bosse and Trevon Bluiett of Park Tudor, are among the best in the nation. Both have scholarship offers from IU and play with Blackmon on the Spiece Indy Heat 17-and-under team.
Usually, when I talk to JaQuan, I just see where hes at with all his recruitment, Blackmon said at the Spiece Run-n-Slam tournament Friday. It would be a great place for him because me and him are a great combo.
Blackmon makes the same pitch to Bluiett. Indiana is in the picture for both players, but plenty of other suitors are pursuing the prospects.
Him, me and Trey are best friends, and unfortunately Trey decommitted, but I mean J is always in my ear, Lyle said.
He feels the most comfortable with us, Bluiett added. Weve been playing together since eighth grade. Theres that chemistry there.
Blackmon, Lyle and Bluiett are all regarded as among the top 75 players in the country, according to the 247Composite, a ranking by 247Sports.com that compiles rankings by Rivals.com, Scout.com, ESPN.com and 247Sports into one average.
On the rise
Center Grove shooting guard Michael Benkert has put on 15 pounds and grown an inch since last summer.
His game has grown quite a bit, too.
The junior-to-be has impressed early during the AAU circuit with the Eric Gordon Central Stars and quickly become the teams best offensive player. His production was stymied last season when Eron Gordon, the youngest brother of Eric Gordon, played on his team.
Now, with him playing up, I think Im more of the go-to guy, Benkert said. I think its going to help quite a lot just because Im going to be able to score a lot and just be able to be that main guy.
The 2015 guard has no offers, but Michigan, Butler and Purdue have shown interest. The Boilermakers have been the most intense in their pursuit.
They just make you feel like a family, he said of Purdue. Theyve been the hardest ones recruiting me so far.