IU Insider Blog: 14-year-old Commits

When you're 14 you should be hanging out with buddies, worrying about girls, or going to the mall on the weekend. But deciding your college future? I'm not a big fan.

Fourteen years old is too early to be making a decision of where you're going to attend college.

More than that, it's too early to be making a commitment for something that isn't going to take place until four years later.

It's just awfully early to be making a commitment to play basketball at a place like Indiana University.

When you're 14, you should be going to the mall.

When you're 14, you should be worrying about girls or hanging out with your buddies.

When you're 14, you should be going to camp or playing video games. Or getting your first job at Dairy Queen.

When you're 14, you should be playing sports. If AAU basketball is what you want to do, that's great. If it's travel baseball or soccer or junior golf, super.

But expecting a 14-year-old to make a college commitment is asking for trouble.

I get why the coaches make the offers. It's a competitive profession. And you see a kid and make an evaluation and you believe that four years from now he's only going to be better. I get all of that. And sometimes it works out.

But sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes kids change their minds. Then it comes down to doing what is right. And the question then becomes whether it's right to keep your commitment or is it right to follow your heart and change your mind.

It puts a lot of pressure on a kid. Don't get me wrong. There's a lot of positives that come along with being committed early and plenty of accolades. There's no guess work. You know that four years later you're going to have a scholarship offer as long as the coach you have committed to play for is still at that institution.

But there's still the pressure, too.

I'm not sure how many of you have been parents to a 14 year old. I've had two of them. All I ask you to do is think back to when your kids were that age, or maybe they're that age now. And answer a simple question: Do you think your son or daughter would be ready to commit to playing sports at a university at the ripe only age of 14?

I can't imagine that being the case for my kids. My sons weren't sure what college they were attending until their senior years in high school. And even then they went back and forth before making a decision.

When I think about all of that I can see why a kid like James Blackmon Jr. backed out of his commitment to IU Thursday and re-opened his recruitment.

I can understand why the Indiana coaching staff is disappointed. I can understand why Indiana basketball fans are left wondering why. But I can also put myself in the shoes of a high school kid wanting to make 100 percent sure he has chosen the right school.

I know kids rarely go back to the school they committed to after opening up their recruitment. I understand it's rare for them to come back. And I haven't spoken to James Blackmon Jr. in this case or know any kind of inside information on the topic. But something tells me that it's not completely a done deal. If he really is opening it back up so that he's 100 percent sure he's going to the right place in Indiana, then there's no reason to think he might not just return.

It's probably a long shot. But it's not that much more of a long shot than the one that takes place when a 14-year-old opts to make a college decision.

That's one man's opinion. What do you think?

Follow Terry Hutchens at Twitter.com/foxsportshutch.


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