Blackmon is Cautionary Tale for Early Commitments
At least it's over. Indiana fans can appreciate that and not have to worry one more second about whether or not the top in-state recruit for 2014 is coming to their school. Because he's not, at least for now.
It's been a long time coming now for most observers, even if the Hoosier Nation refused to believe it. But on Thursday, four-star recruit James Blackmon Jr. made it official: he was de-committing from IU, the school he first pledged to as a freshman before even playing a single game.
"Everything is on a positive note with Crean," Blackmon's father, James Sr., said. "It's just a matter of not being completely sure and having something to compare it to. He wants to be 100 percent sure, all in."
Blackmon has said that everything is fine with Crean and that he will still consider going to IU. However, it is rare for a player to recommit to the same school after de-committing.
Losing the 6-3 Blackmon--ranked as the No. 33 overall prospect by Rivals.com and the No. 9 shooting guard by Scout.com--is a big blow for the Hoosiers, especially now that they have zero commits for 2014.
What once looked like another highly touted class for Crean three years ago has since been completely eradicated, as Blackmon's AAU teammate Trey Lyles also retracted his pledge last August and now lists Butler, Florida, Kentucky and Louisville among his final four.
Both players' decisions appear to be based on uncertainty after committing so early, simply stating that they want another school to compare to IU. That's a common trend in today's college basketball world.
Coaches and programs are recruiting younger and younger kids, and I have never been a fan of it. How are we supposed to know how players will turn out before they've even entered high school? The overwhelming media coverage and coaches pulling them in several different directions as they go through natural body changes can be detrimental to a player.
With social media today, it just gets even worse. When word leaked of Blackmon's de-commitment, hundreds of angry Hoosier fans tweeted their frustrations at Blackmon. For a 17-year-old who had every right to change his mind about his college decision, it is ridiculous that those fans would hold him accountable for the same decision that they had to make themselves. Do they really think that threatening him will make him more inclined to re-commit and attend IU next fall?
Teenagers need a chance to develop and decide what they really want in life, and high school is the time to do that. After they figure that out and become adults, then they can decide on college.
In Blackmon's case, he wanted to attend IU having barely started high school. I can't say I blame him, because Illinois was my dream school when I was a freshman. After three more years of maturity, I decided my senior year that Indiana was the best place for me, and everything worked out.
James Blackmon Jr. will make a final decision this fall, although it is not expected to be IU. Tom Crean already appears to be preparing for the inevitable as he has several prospects in the running to replace Blackmon and Lyles. One way or the other, everything seems to find a way to work out in life, and I have no doubt that the same thing will happen to James Blackmon Jr.