The decision wasn't all that surprising, but reports surfaced on Wednesday morning that Indiana guard James Blackmon would be withdrawing from the 2016 NBA Draft and returning to Bloomington.
Blackmon had dropped significantly on many of the NBA Draft boards during last season, so it isn't very surprising to see him come back, but this is still an important announcement for the Hoosiers. It means a talented guard with a boatload of potential will be returning to the lineup.
Overall, Blackmon has played in a total of 46 games during his two seasons with Indiana. During his limited time last season before he injury, he averaged 15.8 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 1.7 assists per game. He was also one of the better three point shooters in the conference, averaging 46.3 percent from long range last season.
With the time he missed last year, there are some questions about where Blackmon will fit into Indiana's lineup next season, but there isn't much debating that he will play significant minutes. He will have to compete for playing time with players like De'Ron Davis, Robert Johnson, and Josh Newkirk in order to get playing time, so Blackmon will have his work cut out to getting a starting role and touches.
Nonetheless, this is still major news for the Hoosiers. The backcourt looks like it might be crowded, but with the loss of Yogi Ferrell to graduation, there is still some uncertainty in the returning groups. As such, getting a player like Blackmon back is a big boost in helping to secure a question mark in the lineup. Whether he can make some strides this season remains to be seen, but it is at least one more talented player on the roster next season.
Indiana might not be the sole favorite for the Big Ten next season, but with the return of Blackmon, it looks like the team just got that much closer to repeating as Big Ten champions.