Crean talks Blackmon Jr., Johnson

Indiana coach Tom Crean talked about 2014 signees James Blackmon Jr. and Robert Johnson on Thursday afternoon.

Indiana's 2014 recruiting class -- James Blackmon Jr., Robert Johnson and Max Hoetzel -- all signed their National Letters of Intent on Thursday.

Hoetzel's letter has not yet been sent to the Indiana staff because his parents live in California and still must sign it in the next couple days. For that reason, the Indiana coaching staff was only able to talk about Blackmon Jr. and Johnson on Thursday.

Johnson, a 6-foot-3 shooting guard from Virginia, committed to the Hoosiers back in September over North Carolina, Virginia and Florida State.

CREAN ON ROBERT JOHNSON: "We got a guy that plays with an edge. He has a determination about him. He was one of those guys that was known but relatively unknown nationally until the summer came, and he went out there and established what he could do. And we started recruiting him even while James was committed because we felt the two of them could play together. And even after James decommitted and during the recruiting process to get him to come back with us, we never wavered on those two together could be phenomenal.

"To have it turn out this way is excellent because with where we're at, we're trying to get multidimensional, versatile attack, downhill players that can make shots, and Robert Johnson can do all that. He can play off the ball, he can play -- he can handle the ball. He can play down the middle.

"He can play off the wing. He can shoot the three. He's got a tenacity defensively. He's got a strong work ethic. He's got a humility that we love. He was very, very easy for the players to enjoy when he was on a visit. A couple of them knew him from that part of the country but most didn't, and he fit in extremely well.

"So we were very, very fortunate to get him. His tenacity, his ability to make plays and make shots, his ability to deliver the basketball, his ability to get up into people defensively helps him right off the bat."

Blackmon Jr. orignially committed to the Hoosiers back in 2010 but decided to reopen his recruitment in August to explore some other schools. Many other major programs came in, but Blackmon Jr, a 6-foot-3 guard, recommitted to Indiana in October over Kentucky, Michigan and Michigan State.

Blackmon Jr. is considered by our experts to be the best shooter in the 2014 class.

CREAN ON JAMES BLACKMON JR.: "I've known him, we've known him longer than we've known half our team, and getting to know James Blackmon from the very beginning, in June of 2010 when he came up to a camp for the first time, all the way through to today when I talked to him after he'd signed, it has been an absolute privilege to be a part of that family, because when you start to think about families, and we've recruited some really great families at Indiana; that's a family right there. His mom and dad not only are you getting a well-coached young man but you're getting a young man that's coached by his dad. And what he did with Deshaun Thomas in high school and the way he's won at Luers High School is fantastic. James has an ability to do so much, and he's being pushed to do a lot, and that's going to be very, very key when he gets here.

"James is a phenomenal shooter with phenomenal range. He's getting better every day with his ball handling, with his driving. He is one of the best open-court players that I have ever personally been a part of recruiting. He's growing.

"I think the greatest thing to me about James is how he recovered from his knee injury and what he did to take that -- that chip on his shoulder of being a great player just got bigger and bigger, and sometimes when you go through an injury like that, you can go the other way. He didn't. He went the way of becoming better and better. I think he's just scratching the surface athletically. I think he's just scratching the surface as a player. In my mind we got the absolute best player in the state of Indiana, and there was no debate for us for a long, long time that he was that guy. And not just because of what he's doing but because of what he can do in high school, and then what I think he can do here.

"He is going to become a guy that is going to be able to handle that ball. He's got point guard skills. He has got versatility, and he's got a want-to, and again, he just knows how to play. He knows how to win. He can fit in any environment. It's like Tim Buckley would say, he can make a shot in Marion, Indiana, he's going to be able to make a shot in Assembly Hall, he can make a shot in a third world country, not knowing anybody. He can shoot the ball." Top Stories