Blackmon Jr. will return for sophomore season

James Blackmon Jr. will return to Indiana for his sophomore season, he announced at a press conference Thursday. Blackmon Jr. said he explored a jump to the NBA but learned there are plenty of areas he needs to work on first.

James Blackmon Jr. announced Thursday he will return to Indiana for his sophomore season.

The announcement came during a press conference called by the university at 1 pm. at Assembly Hall.

“After talking about the situation with coach Crean and with my family I just felt like the best situation for me was to come back for next year and play my sophomore year here,’’ Blackmon said in his opening statement. “I just want to continue to be a student athlete at Indiana University and keep bettering myself.’’

IU coach Tom Crean said that Blackmon will be 40 percent of his way toward graduation by the end of the summer.

During the process of gathering information, Blackmon said he received both positive and negative feedback. He said he heard from various teams the things he felt like he needed to work on.

He said he heard that NBA teams see him as a combo guard and they know he can score the ball.

“I don’t really remember them right now,’’ Blackmon said. “I remember the negatives more than the positives.’’

He said some of that feedback had to do with how Blackmon needs to improve on the defensive end, both in terms of on and off the ball defense.

Blackmon said moving forward he wanted to focus on his leadership qualities, getting stronger and he said he wanted to get better at his point guard traits.

He also said part of his decision to come back was that Troy Williams had already announced he was returning and that IU was able to sign Thomas Bryant.

“That played a part in my decision,’’ Blackmon said. “I’m going to play on a great team next year. But I definitely looked at that. My teammates that I have here they push me every day to get better.’’

Blackmon was asked if had talked to Yogi Ferrell lately about what the senior guard planned to do. Ferrell has said he will announce his decision Saturday night at a restaurant with friends and family on the north side of Indianapolis.

“Me and Yogi talk a lot and we’ve talked about both of our decisions but at the end of the day he is going to make the best decision for him,’’ Blackmon said.

Blackmon ranked eighth in the Big Ten in scoring with a 15.7 points per game average, an average that was sixth among all freshmen in the country.

He made 77 3-pointers last season which was the most by an IU freshman in history. That was seven more than the previous record held by Eric Gordon.


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