(Contributors: Nithin Krishnan, Photo: IUHoosiers.com)
James Blackmon Jr. Biography
James Blackmon Jr. is a basketball player hailing from Marion, Indiana, who played for Indiana University. James Blackmon Jr. primarily played the shooting guard position for the Hoosiers for three seasons between 2014 and 2017. The Indiana native was recruited by Tom Crean and played at Bishop Luers High School for three years before playing at Marion High School, where he was coached by his father, James. In his high school career, Blackmon Jr. accumulated 2,387 points, which currently stands 13th all-time. The 6’4″ guard recorded 1,235 points in his abbreviated career with the Hoosiers, good for 35th in program history. After considering his knee injury, which cost him 22 games in 2015-16, and his declaration for the NBA Draft after his junior year, Blackmon Jr. scored 16.3 points per game, which stands #20. The marksman notched a 3-point field goal percentage of 41.5% in his time at IU. Blackmon Jr. currently plays for VL Pesaro in the Italian Lega Basket Serie A. Blackmon Jr.’s brother, Vijay, played at IU from 2017-19.
- Name: James Blackmon Jr.
- Position: Shooting Guard
- Nationality: USA
- Age: 24 years old
- Birthday: April 25th, 1995
- Hometown: Marion, Indiana
- High School: Bishop Luers High School (Fort Wayne, IN), Marion High School (Marion, IN)
- Height: 6’4″ (193 cm)
- Weight: 200 lb (91 kg)
- Seasons: 3 (2014-17)
- Jersey: #1
- Current Team: VL Pesaro
- NBA Draft: 2017 / Undrafted
Awards and Accolades
- 2014 McDonald’s All-American
- 2014 Parade All-American
- 2014-2015 Honorable Mention All-Big Ten (Coaches & Media)
- 2015 Big Ten All-Freshman Team (Unanimous Selection)
- NBCSports.com National Player of the Week (Nov. 14, 2016)
- 2017 3rd Team All-Big Ten (Coaches)
- 2017 Honorable Mention All-Big Ten (Media)
James Blackmon Jr. Recruiting Profile
James Blackmon Jr. was a 5-star SG recruit from Marion High School in Marion, Indiana. The 6’4″ guard was ranked 20th overall in the 2014 class and he was the second best player in the state of Indiana, behind Kentucky center and Arsenal Tech alum Trey Lyles. Among shooting guards, he was ranked 7th in the country for the 2014 recruiting class, behind notable names Stanley Johnson, Kelly Oubre, and D’Angelo Russell. James Blackmon Jr. originally committed to Indiana University before his freshman season at Marion High School, but reopened his recruitment before his senior year. After official visits to Michigan, Kentucky, and Indiana, and offers from programs such as Louisville, Kansas, Michigan St., and North Carolina, Blackmon Jr. committed to Indiana University.
In high school, James Blackmon Jr. was known as a fantastic shooter with ball handling ability. Blackmon Jr. learned plenty from his father, James, who played at Kentucky and was a McDonald’s All-American himself. Sadly, Blackmon Jr. suffered a torn ACL on February 4, 2012, in a game against Arsenal Tech. Fortunately, Blackmon Jr. returned in December 2012 and scored 38 points in his first game back, against Mishawaka Marian. After transferring to Marion High School for his senior season, Blackmon Jr. scored a stunning 54 points in a single game against Irvington Prep Academy on November 27, 2013.
He committed to the Indiana University Hoosiers on September 3rd, 2010, before playing a high school game. He was recruited by Indiana head coach Tom Crean. Crean did not rescind his offer after Blackmon suffered his ACL injury. On August 8th, 2013, Blackmon Jr. reopened his recruitment. On October 31st, 2013, James Blackmon Jr. recommitted to IU. On November 14, 2013, James Blackmon, Jr. signed his letter of intent.
- 247 Composite Ranking: 5-Star (0.9921)
- Rivals: 5-Star (22nd Overall, 5th SG)
- ESPN: 93 rating
James Blackmon Jr.’s Seasons with the Hoosiers
20-14 (9-9 Big Ten)
🏅 NCAA RO64
27-8 (15-3 Big Ten)
🏅 NCAA Sweet Sixteen
18-16 (7-11 Big Ten)
🏅 NIT First Round
James Blackmon Jr.’s Indiana University Statistics
James Blackmon Jr.’s Career at Indiana University
James Blackmon Jr. entered IU with lofty expectations. The in-state 5-star shooting guard and McDonald’s All-American joined the program in the same recruiting class as 4-star guard Robert Johnson, and the two were expected to join junior point guard Yogi Ferrell in a dynamic backcourt. Blackmon Jr. took a liking to coach Tom Crean’s offensive system, as Blackmon Jr. started his college career with at least 19 points in each of his first four games, hitting a remarkable 16 out of 25 three point field goals (64%). After an electrifying November, Blackmon Jr. consistently averaged 13-15 points per game (PPG) per month, and consistently made about 35% of his three point field goals. Blackmon Jr. was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week twice. Blackmon Jr. finished his freshman year scoring 15.7 PPG, which was good for 8th in the conference. Additionally, his 518 points scored finished 3rd in school history, behind Eric Gordon (664) and Cody Zeller (563). Romeo Langford bumped Blackmon Jr. down to 4th after scoring 528 points this past season. Blackmon Jr. broke Gordon’s freshman record for three point field goals made, converting 77 threes. For his efforts, Blackmon Jr. was a unanimous selection for the Big Ten All-Freshman team.
After considering the NBA Draft in the offseason, Blackmon Jr. announced that he would return to Bloomington for his sophomore campaign. Before the season started, however, Blackmon Jr. underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee. The injury kept him out for a number of weeks late in the summer, but Blackmon Jr. did not miss any games. The smooth sniper started his season in spectacular style, averaging a solid 15.8 PPG and made three pointers at an eye-popping clip of 46.3% Blackmon Jr. scored a career-high 33 points in a lopsided win over Alcorn St. on November 30, 2015. The injury bug bit Blackmon Jr. once again, as the calendar turned to 2016. During a practice, Blackmon Jr. suffered a right knee injury that ruled him out for the rest of the year. IU had won all 21 games to that point in which Blackmon Jr. made at least 47% of his field goals. Blackmon Jr. underwent surgery in January 2016, which was his second knee surgery in a six-month span.
After months of rest, recovery, and rehabilitation, now-junior Blackmon Jr. took the court for #11 Indiana’s highly anticipated 2016-17 season opener against #3 Kansas in Hawaii. After the departures of Yogi Ferrell and Troy Williams, “JBJ” did not ease his way into the rotation. Blackmon Jr. scored 26 points in a thrilling overtime upset victory, and hit a number of big three pointers to help the cause. That effort won Blackmon Jr. NBCSports.com’s National Player of the Week, as well as Big Ten Co-Player of the Week. The Hoosiers won their next two games and rose to #3 in the national rankings, before falling in shocking fashion at IPFW. In that defeat, Blackmon suffered yet another knee injury, although this one only cost him a single game. Blackmon Jr. returned for #13 IU’s next high-profile non-conference game against North Carolina, where he put up 14 points and hauled in nine rebounds in a victory. The Hoosiers’ season spiraled downward starting in mid-December, as IU would win just 10 out of its final 25 games after starting 8-1. Blackmon Jr. hit a dramatic buzzer-beater for one of those victories, as IU knocked off Penn State 78-75 in Happy Valley. IU fans might remember that game as the one where emerging sophomore OG Anunoby suffered a season-ending knee injury. On January 28, Blackmon Jr. – you guessed it – had bad luck come his way again, as IU announced Blackmon Jr. injured his left leg in a loss at Michigan. Blackmon Jr. would miss three games, but fortunately, return for the season’s final stretch. During the Big Ten Tournament, in which IU was trying to salvage its season, Blackmon Jr. scored 23 and 17 points in the two games that IU played, the latter of which was a 70-60 loss against #24 Wisconsin. Blackmon Jr. was recognized with a spot on the All-Big Ten 3rd team, according to the coaches, and honorable mention according to the media. On May 7, 2017, James Blackmon Jr. announced he would keep his name in the NBA Draft, days after walking across the stage to pick up his undergraduate degree.
James Blackmon Jr.’s Career after Indiana University
After graduating from Indiana University, James Blackmon Jr. was not selected in the 2017 NBA draft. It was only a matter of a few hours before Blackmon Jr. signed as an undrafted free agent with the Philadelphia 76ers. Blackmon Jr.’s performance in the Summer League earned him an invitation to training camp with the Sixers. Blackmon Jr. found a consistent role with the Delaware 87ers in the NBA Developmental League, playing 47 games and scoring 12.8 PPG. Blackmon Jr. was traded to the Wisconsin Herd to conclude the 2017-18 season, and he saw his workload increase, averaging 32.6 minutes and 16.7 PPG. After playing in the 2018 Summer League, Blackmon Jr. made the move overseas to Italy, where he averaged 20.2 PPG for VL Pesaro, where he is teammates with former Maryland Terrapin Dez Wells.
- 2017-18 Season: Delaware 87ers of the NBA Developmental League
- 2017-18 Season: Wisconsin Herd of the NBA Developmental League
- 2018-2019 Season: VL Pesaro of the Lega Basket Serie A (Italy).