Notebook: James Blackmon Jr. nearing decision

Dylan Burkhardt

IPSAC110061a[1]Michigan landed a statement commitment from Kameron Chatman on Tuesday evening but John Beilein hasn’t stopped to celebrate his big win. He’s trying to build on positive momentum. The Wolverine head coach is traveling to see James Blackmon Jr. tonight and things appear to be heating up in the Blackmon recruitment.

James Blackmon Jr. tweeted on Wednesday night before Michigan’s visit that a decision was coming soon and announced a final list of five that included Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan and Michigan State.

The timing of the tweet is interesting because Blackmon has only taken one official visit, to Michigan last weekend. Blackmon had previously announced intentions to officially visit Kentucky (October 18th) and Indiana, where he was originally committed, before reaching a decision.

Grantham decision coming Friday

Donte Grantham is down to Michigan and Clemson and a decision is expected on Friday afternoon. Both Michigan and Clemson have reason for optimism in Grantham’s recruitment and it could go either way on Friday.

Grantham has visited Clemson twice, including last weekend, but his Michigan trip reportedly went extraordinarily well. The Wolverines visited Grantham on Wednesday.

It’s impossible to say what effect Chatman’s commitment will have on Grantham. Chatman told us on Tuesday that he plans to recruit Grantham. Grantham is also a very different player than Chatman, with a much more rugged and physical style of play.

Visit weekend on deck

Michigan will host Devin Booker and DJ Wilson for official visits this weekend.

Booker has been one of Michigan’s top targets for years now but Kentucky is strongly considered to be the leader in his recruitment. The Wolverines will have a chance to sway Booker on his official visit. Booker also plans to visit Missouri (10/18) officially before reaching a decision. Booker plans to announce his college decision on October 31st.

Update: Maybe not.

Wilson is expected to receive a scholarship offer on his trip and the Wolverine are in a strong position for the 6-foot-9 California native. Grantham’s decision could affect Wilson but it won’t affect his visit. Wilson will already be traveling to Ann Arbor for his official visit when Grantham announces a decision. Wilson and Grantham’s games would complement each other well but the frontcourt scholarship chart would start to be crowded.

Bess adds offer, sets tentative visit date

Javon Bess was offered a scholarship by Michigan State today after Tom Izzo watched him at open gym.

Michigan has been watching Bess as a backup guard option and both John Beilein and Bacari Alexander have been in to watch him play. Bess is also tentatively scheduled to take an official visit to Michigan the weekend of October 18th. Bess will reportedly visit Michigan State this weekend.

  • Ben

    wow – -was this Blackmon visit planned out for a while – or did Blackmon call & say – – come on over……. ?

  • Chris

    For the record as of 9:48 pm I’m under the impression that the Michigan coaches are currently in route to the Blackmons and James could pull the trigger when they get there. Bacari tweeted an hour ago that the plane wheels were up in route to see James Blackmon, so I don’t think they’ve visited him quite yet.

  • Chazer

    Wow this is fun….the chips are starting to fall in place! The Blackmon visit has been very quiet and unusual given the campus activity. Here’s hoping Michigan gets one of these fine young men! Those personal visits seem to indicate decision time is near.

    Good luck and go Blue!

  • jblair52

    man…Blackmon + Chatman + Grantham/Wilson within 1 week is crazy.

  • gobluemd16

    This is prettty nuts and quite exciting. For those, including me, who were slightly pessimistic about recruiting, oh how fast things can change. To me, it seems like we have a REALLY good shot with Blackmon considering we are the only official he has taken so far, and the fact that the coaches are visiting him tonight. What would we do with Booker if Blackmon were to commit? They play the same position and, presumably, it wouldn’t make sense to take both. Granted, Booker could easily choose Kentucky, but we have been recruiting him a lot longer than Blackmon and if he did want to commit to Mich, it is his loss for waiting so long. Grantham could easily commit as well, probably neck and neck with Clemson. Wow, this could be a really amazing class, and most of the recruits all coming down the same week! All I know is I trust Beilein, and will continue to trust Beilein. The man (and his staff) is amazing.

    • guestavo

      I like all of our recruits. 4 of these dudes will most likely have to go elsewhere.

  • Chazer

    I keep thinking the relationship with Austin might be important to James. Its always fun to play on a team with your friends. Similar to GR and MM…this team is tight and the culture is very unique in comparison to the one and done environment. It always appears in the past two years that these kids really enjoy each others company.

    Of course winning will do that and that’s how JB treats people… he’s known you forever! He’s such a humble and honest gentleman.

    Go Blue!

  • Added a note that Devin Booker plans to announce October 31st.

  • Ben

    This in-home just 4 days after the Official visit……..

    • ajerome33

      Yeah, this does seem eye-opening……crossing fingers

    • jblair52

      exactly. Like Chatman – why would this be needed other than to silent commit and tell them he just wants to take his Kentucky visit to see his pops old stomping grounds one last time.

      He had an unofficial visit, an official visit, and then his in-home visit all within 5 weeks.

      • geoffclarke

        I like how you think and won’t doubt you after calling the Chatman commitment. Plus you could easily explain away the Bacari tweet by the fact that real practice has already started and he knows the coaches have spent a lot of time away from the players currently on the roster. HOWEVER, another way to explain the Bacari tweet is that the coaches were expecting a commitment, were disappointed they didn’t get one, and don’t want to spend much more time on Blackmon’s recruitment with so many other irons in the fire.

        • Mattski

          I have a hard time reading this any other way.

        • jblair52

          Maybe. But why would Blackmon take an unofficial, then a couple weeks later his official. Then a few days later let Beilein fly in just to tell him…he’s not committing?

          Is he having all the other head coaches fly in to tell them no?

          He cancelled all his other visits except to Kentucky.
          I don’t think him and Lyles are a package deal. It looks like Booker is leaning that way and possibly Oubre. It’s where his dad played.

          I’d think BA was just messing around or motivating the current guys before I’d believe he’s upset about a recruit saying no. I don’t think BA posted anything after we missed on Bluiett who we were after much much longer.

  • jkuofm27

    You guys are gonna make me stay up all night again? I went to bed late last night trying to get all the juicy details. Great stuff. I hope the tea leaves are saying what I think they are saying.

  • Graham Brown

    After Hatch, Doyle and Chatman, how many max spots are open? Can Michigan have a class of 6?

    • A2JD

      I don’t know if Hatch’s scholarship will count against the count, if that makes sense. I haven’t read of him being able to play competitively yet but I think Michigan will still honor the offer.

  • Ben

    Per Sam Webb- No commit tonight. Not sure how soon is soon………

  • gobluemd16

    This may not really mean that much, but it definitely is interesting re: coaches visiting Blackmon tonight. Bacari’s 11:30 pm tweet tonight “It’s been real… The most important players are the ones we have. #imtalkingaboutpracticenotthegamebutpractice”

    • guestavo

      Going to guess the Try Lyles/ Blackmon Jr rumors are true

      • Kenny

        are you saying that they are package deal for Kentucky, that would be very damaging to Indiana and Tom Crean.

  • MattD

    Still taking UK visit per Chris Balas

    James Blackmon Jr: “Visit with Michigan coaches great.” Still has an Oct. 18 trip to Kentucky planned before he decides.

  • Kenny

    I do not see Blackmon and Booker both attend Kentucky. given Kentucky already has Ulis there, they have to compete for minutes head to head. I believe that we have very good chance of landing one of the two, and my money is on Blackmon.

    The coaches have a very delicate game to play with the limited scholarships remaining, and having Chatman committed this weeks is a huge advantage for Beilein. As Chatman can play both guard position, Beilein can take two combo forwards from Grantham/Wilson/Bolden to complete the class. The game is relatively easy, take one of Grantham and Wilson this weekend and wait for Blackmon and Booker. Even we lose on both, we can still wait on Bolden in the spring.

  • JVS

    What a solid 36h. So much leverage and flexibility now regardless of any individual decision thanks to KC. The Bacari tweet is a bit odd in any scenario, unless his sole purpose is to have his tweets dissected. Would be odd to have all visits/in home so frequently if not at least leaning that way, so hopefully the UK trip is to complete the due diligence, and validate/confirm a Michigan decision. The Grantham Friday announcement and Wilson showing up saturday could be a bit awkward and/or create a logjam if everyone wants in. Not a bad problem to have.

    • Brian Califf

      I think the coaches know Grantham isn’t coming to Michigan. I don’t think it’s their style for a kid to come on a visit and have an awkward situation where there wouldn’t be a scholarhsip.

      • brian coburn

        Oh please. That is why the entire staff is going to visit Grantham tonight? So sick of these people making comments like they know anything.

    • jwalk

      I think based on the evidence Bacari enjoys people reacting to his tweets & I agree it seems a like a strange message to send, especially given the timing.

      However, the other way of looking at it in the larger context of his previous set of travel/charter jet tweets is that the larger marathon recruiting trip is over & now it’s time to focus on the current team/maximize practice time. Puzzling though….

  • Retiredat23

    Give me Blackmon Jr.! I can see him setting the record for 3’s in a single season @ UM.