NCB On The Trail: James Blackmon

#AskCoachB: Making a point

March, 19, 2014
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Romelo Trimble is headed to Maryland, and the staff there is grooming him to be a point guard. Right now, Trimble is a combo guard, which means he can run a team and get baskets at any time. He plays for a great high school coach at Bishop O'Connell in Joe Wootten, who has taught him the balance of putting up big scoring numbers and distributing to his teammates. Trimble must pay attention to making good decisions if he truly wants to be a point guard.

James Blackmon Jr. has been a shooting guard his whole life and he is one of the best in the country. I think he should stay as a shooting guard who can handle the ball on screens and push the ball on fast breaks. He is a good passer, but he is a great shooter. He should be the best 3-point shooter on Indiana's roster next season.

Robert Johnson is currently a combo guard because he plays equally well both on and off the ball. Johnson can process the game and still look for his offense. He's a good passer with a dribble-drive game, and I like the way he defends opposing point guards. Johnson could gradually play some possessions at the point for Indiana because he is a solid decision-maker.

Tadric Jackson is headed to play for Brian Gregory at Georgia Tech. Jackson has super speed and wants the ball in his hands. At times he is a one-man fast break. His DNA is to score, but he also possesses great vision. He gets into the lane at will to create for himself or find his teammates. Jackson is a dangerous scoring point guard.

There are no pure point guards in that group, but those are definitely some extremely gifted guards.

Breaking down the class rankings 

October, 16, 2013
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This week's class rankings see three new entrants: Marquette, San Diego State and USC. But those aren't the only teams to watch. Here are four things you need to know about the class rankings, from LSU's big splash to Kansas' momentum and much more.

The trouble with early commitments 

October, 11, 2013
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Trey LylesAP Photo/Damen Jackson via Triple Play New MediaTrey Lyles committed to Indiana as a freshman, but he opened up his recruitment in 2012.
James Blackmon Jr. began Indiana’s resurgence when he gave Tom Crean and the Hoosiers a verbal commitment on Sept. 7, 2010.

Blackmon had yet to play his first high school game, but Crean & Co. took a chance, desperately needing in-state recruiting momentum and picking up a player who would wind up being ranked by just about everyone in the Top 50.

Nineteen days later, Indiana received another pledge, this time from a skilled power forward originally from Canada by the name of Trey Lyles.

Hoosier Nation rejoiced. Boy, did they ever. Two young, highly regarded players who would help turn the fortunes of a storied program that had won just 16 games over Crean’s first two seasons.

Cody Zeller would commit to the Hoosiers two months later, and Indiana was back. Well, not quite -- but Blackmon and Lyles helped give the program credibility, and Zeller once again made it cool for an elite prospect to go to IU.

Zeller is gone, leaving after a two-season career that included consecutive Sweet 16 appearances. Crean has brought in a terrific freshman class this season that includes Noah Vonleh and Troy Williams, and Blackmon and Lyles were supposed to finally arrive in Bloomington a year from now to not only sustain the recent success but also put the Hoosiers in prime position to win their sixth national title.

There’s only one problem. These guys didn’t stick with their commitments. Lyles did exactly what Crean and his staff had anticipated, becoming one of the most skilled power forwards in the nation. He decommitted on Aug. 8, 2012 amid growing speculation that he'd ultimately land at Kentucky. Lyles recently trimmed his list to UK and Louisville.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- On the first day of competition at the Nike Global Challenge on Thursday, some of the best U.S. high school players were pitted against some of the best young prospects from around the world. The Global Challenge pits four U.S. teams from the West, Midwest, South and East against teams from Brazil, France, Africa and Canada.

On Thursday, the U.S. squads swept through the international teams. Here’s a look at four players who stood out on Day 1, including recruits committed to Indiana, Ohio State and Maryland.

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10 things learned at NBPA 100 Camp 

June, 17, 2013
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- The NBPA Top 100 Camp wrapped up this weekend and while my colleague Paul Biancardi highlighted the top performances from the event, I’ll delve into some other recruiting observations from the star-studded event.

Among the takeaways was the continued emergence of 2015 center Cheick Diallo , Isaiah Whitehead's improving shot selection and Derrick Jones' bounce-back performance.

Here are the 10 things I learned while attending the NBPA 100 Camp.

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ESPN.com has confirmed that junior power forward Trey Lyles (Indianapolis/Arsenal Tech) has decided to reopen his recruitment and is no longer committed to Indiana.

The 6-foot-8 ESPN 60 prospect chose the Hoosiers in September 2010 before he had ever played a varsity game. Lyles averaged a double-double (21.0 ppg and 14.0 rpg) as a sophomore last season. He's ranked No. 7 in the class of 2014 by ESPN.

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