As college basketball becomes increasingly brutal in the painted area, a team's ability to deploy effective perimeter shooters has increased in value accordingly.
And Indiana has one wing position covered in that regard thanks to James Blackmon. Committed to the Hoosiers for nearly three full years, Blackmon slid under the radar to an extent simply because there was no possibility of recruiting drama.
And while other guys made their own names during the 2012 summer and gained steam on recruiting sites as they accrued scholarship offers, Blackmon also suffered from relative obscurity because he missed extensive time after tearing his ACL last February.
But his play this summer proved too difficult to ignore. An ankle injury felled him at the Peach Jam, where he'd hit six of his 10 three-point attempts through two games.
He bounced back during the second live leg, however, shooting at a torrid clip at the Global Challenge. He buried 56 percent (9-16) of his three attempts there in four games, averaging 20 total points per contest. Adding credibility to the numbers was the fact that two fellow shooters for the Midwest squad — Tyus Jones and Rashad Vaughn — combined for just 8-33 on threes.
Blackmon has improved as a driver and certainly can be described as a power wing, but ultimately he's still a specialist. His setup and release are pure, and he has easy range to 23 feet. He can be crowded by elite defenders on occasion, but in greater structure he should benefit from screening and effective court spacing.
And you simply can't ignore his effectiveness this month. Matched against the very best competition and surrounded by elite peers, he delivered in a big-time fashion.
He's also more unique in the 2014 class than he would be in others. This class likely won't enter the annals for its volume of elite shooters, and thus Blackmon enjoys even greater value for the Hoosiers due to scarcity.