Scout analysts weigh in on Blackmon decision

Evan Daniels, Brian Snow, Rob Harrington and Josh Gershon react to James Blackmon Jr.'s decision to de-commit from Indiana on Thursday.

In the aftermath of James Blackmon Jr.'s decision Thursday to re-open his recruitment and de-commit from Indiana, I called upon three of Fox Sports/'s national basketball analysts to weigh in on just what this means for the Hoosiers.

There was a time when IU had arguably the top two players in the state committed in its class of 2014. Now, both Trey Lyles and Blackmon Jr. are not Indiana bound. And instead of two commits in the upcoming class, IU currently has zero.

National recruiting analyst Josh Gershon said it's difficult to determine how big of a loss this will be for Indiana until you see who they replace Blackmon Jr. with. There has been speculation that this simply turns up the heat on bringing in a player like Robert Johnson, who announced earlier this week his intention to visit IU on Aug. 24.

"Robert Johnson is such a versatile player that I think you could make the argument that if Indiana could get him that would be a bigger commitment than Blackmon,'' Gershon said. "Johnson is a player who could play both the one and two at the next level. Combo guards like that are hard to find.''

National recruiting analyst Evan Daniels agreed with the assessment on Johnson but also said there's no understating how much of a blow Blackmon Jr.'s decision is to the Hoosiers.

"It hurts to lose the top two players in the state and especially when both were big time players,'' Daniels said. "If they can bring in a player like Robert Johnson he could fill a similar role as Blackmon Jr. But there's no masking that this one really hurt Indiana.''

Daniels said it's difficult to know exactly what direction the Hoosiers will now turn because he believes the IU staff was caught completely off guard by Blackmon Jr.'s announcement.

"I really don't think they saw it coming,'' Daniels said. "I really think this was a huge surprise. My guess is that they're going to need a day or two to catch their breath and really decide what direction they should be headed in.''

National recruiting analyst Brian Snow said that there had been rumors for some time that Blackmon Jr. was considering opening up his recruitment again. He said Indiana had heard them. Everyone had heard them. But he added that it had appeared that those rumors had gone away.

"Everything just seemed like it was set,'' Snow said. "I know Indiana has had good contact with James and his father and I think they really believed that everything was fine. Obviously, this is a bad time for a de-commit but at the same time I don't think this is a case where the coaching staff is throwing up their hands and saying ‘What do we do now?

"My guess is that Tom Crean, Kenny Johnson, Steve McClain and Tim Buckley are all sitting in an office right now looking at their depth charts and what players they really liked that they have seen. I'm guessing they'll turn up the heat on a few players and make them more aware why playing in Bloomington, Indiana would be the right fit for them at this time.''

Another national analyst, Rob Harrington, said what surprised him the most was that Blackmon Jr. is walking away from a healthy program.

"This is a program that is in a lot better shape than it was when he originally committed,'' Harrington said. "It's not like it's a case where the program submarined after he had made his decision. But this is one of the things that happens when you commit that early. It's unfortunate for Indiana that's for sure.''

Blackmon Jr. has said he has not ruled out returning to Indiana but that kind of thing doesn't happen very often.

"It's very rare to de-commit and end up back at the same school,'' Daniels said. "I'm not saying it couldn't happen but it is very rare.''

Follow Terry Hutchens at Top Stories