Earlier this summer, James Blackmon, Jr. decided to decommit from the Indiana Hoosiers in one of the more shocking recruiting developments in recent memory. Now that he's had a few months to reconsider his decision and take some college visits, he has decided to recommit to Indiana. This is a big development for the Hoosiers, but will also have an impact on Michigan and MSU in the Big Ten. Let's take a look at the impact of Blackmon's decision on Indiana, Michigan, and MSU and then take a look at the recruit himself.
Clearly, bringing Blackmon back into the fold is a massive haul for Crean and staff. Blackmon is one of the best talents in the country and Indiana didn't have much luck recently on attempting to fill Blackmon's spot. Now, even if Indiana is unable to haul another recruit in for 2014, they can rest comfortably with a really good class. The depth at IU is certainly unknown for 2014, but you have to figure that Blackmon will at least be a factor as soon as he arrives on campus.
Though the Wolverines were not a major contender in Blackmon's first recruitment period, they were a major player after he decommited from Indiana. Though Blackmon alone was not a major hit, Michigan's other major target for the day was Devin Booker, who committed to Kentucky. Now that Michigan has missed on both Booker and Blackmon, they will be left searching for options. Javon Bess was considered a backup option, but he committed to MSU earlier in the recruiting period. At this point, Michigan can either go after another prospect, wait until spring to go after a player like Dante Exum or Jonah Bolden, or simply take the extra scholarship for the 2015 class.
Most did not expect the Spartans to be a serious contender in the latter portion of Blackmon's recruitment. Due to this, it probably won't have a tremendous impact on the outlook of MSU's 2014 recruiting class. Most eyes are still centered on Trevon Bluiett (UCLA decommit) as the most likely commit to join their 2014 class. Bluiett is also considering Butler, Memphis, and Xavier. Right now, Xavier is the highest trending school on his Crystal Ball prediction page with 72% of the predictions (MSU has 22%).
James Blackmon, Jr. is rated as a 4* recruit on the 247Composite and listed as a shooting guard. He is one of the most talented recruits in the 2014 class. He definitely appears to be a shooting guard at the next level. He probably could play some point guard if needed, but he's such a dynamic scorer that he's probably better there.
Skills: The best part of Blackmon's game is his jumpshot. He has one of the purest jumpshots you will ever see. It's smooth, natural, and he has no problem doing it off of screens, from the outside, or off the bounce. To accompany this, Blackmon also has a nice crossover, a good handle, and can stop on a time. Before defenders can even realize what is happening, he often already has a basket due to his ability to stop with the ball in his hand. On top of this, he has a nice floater, can adjust around defenders in the air, and has pretty good reach for his height. The nice thing about these tools is that his quick stops and long reach are pretty effective at accounting for some slight height limits. He's a dynamic scoring weapon that will be really hard for any college player to defend.
Limits: Blackmon's game has few weaknesses, but one of the clearest is the way he drives and finishes at the hoop. His height definitely influences his play inside, but he often settles for longer shots because he's not quite quick enough or long enough to get around a defender or reach over them to get to the basket. This ends up resulting in floaters, adjustments, and bad shots. Along with this, he definitely has room to improve on defense. Part of this will be the limits on height and length, but he will have a challenge stopping long and athletic guards at the next level without improvement.
Prediction: Blackmon is a high 4* recruit for a reason. He has a lot of talent and will likely make an immediate impact on campus. He still has room to grow, but his excellent shooting and ability to move with the ball gives him the basic skills that could make him a nightmare for opponents.
Blackmon of course is just one recruit, but he has definitely become one of the most well-known in the 2014 class, especially around Big Ten country. Odds were that Indiana, Michigan, and MSU would all finish with solid recruiting classes regardless of Blackmon's decision, but now that he's committed to Indiana, all three can focus on their remaining options.