James Blackmon, Jr., a former Bishop Luers player and Indiana commit, chose to reopen his recruitment Thursday.
Blackmon, who will play his senior season at Marion, committed to the Hoosiers before playing in his first high school game. The 6-foot-3 shooting guard is a top-50 player in his class and one of the top-five players in the state.
“I think Indiana, they had to be a little surprised by this,” said Evan Daniels, a national recruiting analyst for FOXSports. “I think everyone was. I think they were caught off-guard, and you know, any time you lose a guy of that caliber – especially in your backyard – it hurts."
The decommitment adds another tick to a lack of in-state success for the Hoosiers in 2014.
Arsenal Tech’s Trey Lyles decommitted from IU a year ago, and the senior is considering other options.
JaQuan Lyle, an Evansville Bosse standout, has pledged to Louisville.
And the No. 4 prospect in the state, Park Tudor forward Trevon Bluiett, will likely choose either Michigan or Butler by the end of his recruitment.
“Any time you lose a guy like James Blackmon and Trey Lyles, a decommitment, it hurts,” Daniels said. “But it hurts even more when they’re in-state guys. I think Tom Crean really got that thing rolling at Indiana by reeling in in-state players: Yogi Ferrell and Cody Zeller and a couple other guys. They’re gonna have to recover some way.”
IU has no commits for the 2014 class or any future classes after Blackmon’s decision.
The Hoosiers still have options in the 2014 class outside the state. At guard, Australia native Dante Exum – a top-20 player in 2014 – and top-100 prospect Rob Johnson out of Richmond, Va., are strongly considering the Hoosiers. IU also has Georgia native Ahmed Hill, a top-50 shooting guard, on its radar.
“They’re recruiting Robert Johnson pretty hard. He’s a guy that can really shoot the basketball. He’s also versatile and skilled, so he’s probably a guy they’re going to pursue even harder,” Daniels said. “Last year, they were able to go out and get a couple of nationally ranked guys, and that’s what they’re going to have to do to close out this class.”