Scouting James Blackmon

He is one of the top shooters in the nation and has been for some time, but there is more to the game of James Blackmon than just shooting the basketball. Here is a detailed look.

Background: Indiana University signee James Blackmon is now at Marion (Ind.) High School after spending his first three years at Ft. Wayne (Ind.) Bishop Luers, and as usual Blackmon is lighting up the scoreboard. He is one of the top prospects in the country, and here is a look at how he performed against Indianapolis (Ind.) Arsenal Tech.

On Offense: This is the end of the floor where Blackmon is absolutely lethal. He might be the top pure shot maker in the country, and definitely is one of the top two or three. With that there are some situations where he is more effective than others.

Where Blackmon is most impactful as a shooter is when he can take a rhythm dribble into a shot. If a defensive player allows Blackmon to take a controlled rhythm dribble going from left to right with even the smallest amount of airspace, the shot is almost always going in. That is his bread and butter as a shooter, and he has proven that time after time, and did again against Tech.

Also he is good in catch and shoot situations, in fact he is very good, but he is slightly better when allowed a rhythm dribble, especially going to his right. Going to his left he needs a little more refinement as his feet can get a touch sloppy, but still his shot is so soft that there is a great chance the ball goes in.

One area that Blackmon has improved offensively over the past two years is with his ability to get to the rim. His first two years of high school ball he was almost exclusively someone who shot from deep, but now he is better at attacking into the lane and making a floater. It is still a bit unnatural for him, and he prefers to stay on the outside and make shots, but still it is an area he has clearly shown he is capable from.

While he has gotten better going to the rim, his handle still can use some work. Blackmon can get a bit loose with the ball, especially in transition when trying to push, and against physical defenders he struggles to beat them in a straight line.

With that said Blackmon can be absolutely lethal on the offensive end. He is drawing more fouls than at any point in his career, and obviously he is an elite level foul shooter. With added efficiency he has made himself an even more complete offensive player and is somebody who no doubt will score a lot of points in college.

On Defense: Like many high school players, Blackmon is basically asked by his coaches to simply not foul on defense. Because of that he typically doesn't guard the other team's best player, and is more concerned with not being in foul trouble and having to come out of the game than he is in locking someone down.

This is no problem because with the way the high school game is played and officiated, Blackmon is far more valuable to his team when on the floor then taking a chance of picking up fouls by trying to really get after it on defense.

Clearly that will change in college, but the reality is Blackmon's lateral limitations athletically combined with being slightly undersized for the position mean he is never likely to be an above-average defensive player.

On the instances where it is crunch time or where Marion really needs Blackmon to step up, he can struggle to keep quicker guards in front. He is only average moving his feet, and doesn't have the super long arms to keep opponents out of the lane.

In general in college you will likely see Blackmon assigned to guarding the other team's top shooter, or someone who comes off of a lot of screens as opposed to somebody who is a driver, as he is much better as a straight line runner in terms of chasing an offensive player than he is stopping the drive.

Overall: There is no doubt that Blackmon will score a lot of points in a Hoosier uniform. He is an elite level shooter, and with someone around him to be a primary ball handler, Blackmon can focus on what he does best, and that is put up points.

He has a desire to be a point guard, but to this point his game doesn't suggest that. He will play off the ball and maybe be able to create some going to the rim, but likely be more of a catch and shoot guy and somebody who uses a ton of screens.

Blackmon clearly will be able to step in right away as what he does translates to the college game quite well, and as a four-star player he should make his presence felt game one and going forward.

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