Five-star guards James Blackmon Jr., Devin Booker could decide this week

Dylan Burkhardt

blackmonjr051811[1]Devin Booker and James Blackmon Jr. haven’t declared dates for their college announcements but they could come as soon as this week. Both prospects plan to sign in the early signing period and both prospects have completed their college visits.

Blackmon took official visits to Kentucky, Indiana and Michigan over the last month. His most recent official visit to Indiana, where he was originally committed, took place over the weekend. Blackmon visited on Friday and left on Saturday before Indiana’s exhibition game. He hopes to make his college decision this week.

Blackmon is considered a Kentucky lean. His father played for the Wildcats and Blackmon visited Lexington for Kentucky’s Big Blue Madness earlier this month. Blackmon visited Michigan twice since he decommitted from Indiana this fall – unofficially for a football game August 31st and officially on September 28th.

UPDATE: Blackmon will announce this Thursday on ESPNU.

UPDATE #2: Devin Booker will announce at 4 p.m. on Thursday

98% of 247Sports’ Crystal Ball entries predict Blackmon will commit to Kentucky with just one prediction for Michigan.

Booker took his second visit in as many weeks to Missouri, visiting campus while his dad was honored with Missouri’s 1994 Big Eight Championship team. Booker was introduced with his father, Melvin, during the festivities.

Booker took official visits to Kentucky, Michigan, Michigan State and Missouri. While Michigan was considered the leader in Booker’s recruitment early on, Kentucky emerged as a favorite over the summer. Missouri pulled out all the stops over the last couple weeks and has made a late push for the legacy recruit.

Booker’s prep coach originally reported that the 6-foot-5 guard would announce his college decision on October 31st but those reports were denied by Booker and his family, who told the Mississippi Press that he didn’t want to announce his college choice on ESPN.

84% of 247Sports’ Crystal Ball predictions have Booker headed to Kentucky, Michigan holds 10% and Missouri 6%. Missouri’s votes came last week while the last Michigan prediction was filed in early September.

Booker and Blackmon are the only recruits remaining on Michigan’s class of 2014 recruiting board with scholarship offers. The Wolverines have commitments from Kameron Chatman, recently ranked as the No. 55 player in the country regardless of class by, Ricky Doyle, DJ Wilson and Austin Hatch. Michigan is also recruiting 6-foot-8 combo forward Jonah Bolden, an Australian transport who grew up a Michigan fan.

  • Indiana_Matt

    Great write up but think I spotted an error… “No. 55 player in college basketball”…

    • Ha, thanks. Obviously I’m ready for the real games and have had enough with recruiting :-)

      • DingoBlue

        This, I don’t want to talk about likely sad news, I want to get excited about Team/Squad 98.

      • KS

        My opinion anymore, is that IF your REALLY don’t want to play at UM, glad you’re not coming. Let’s get guys that WANT to play for JB and the university.

  • Daniel

    It’s a bit disappointing, but it really does look like we’re going to strike out on both of these guys, with Blackmon choosing UK and Booker choosing Missouri. That would have each guard playing for his father’s team.

    • geoffclarke

      I’m still holding out hope. I think either would be great additions to Michigan. And I’ll also add that Glenn Robinson III and Tim Hardaway Jr did NOT go to Purdue and UTEP, respectively, and they seem to be doing all right.

      • Daniel

        Most definitely. Homer glasses aside, I still think Michigan would be a great fit for either of them.

    • Dean Olson

      Lol you missed on both, just like Michigan!

  • Mattski

    So Blackmon has wandered right off the reservation? Wow. I think my Michigan ego can handle this, but I will be pretty upset if they both go to Kentucky.

  • JVS

    I’d be interested to know the Crystal Ball success rate at predicting these things, as the odds of them both going to UK have to be pretty slim (and not reflected in their scoring). Maybe I’m a blind optimist, but if the overall view is that both won’t go to Kentucky, then I have to think we have a fighter’s chance to get one. I’ve certainly been blind/wrong on these sorts of things before though.

    • DingoBlue

      This is anecdotal, so not really a rate, but Crystal Ball projections tend to be more “accurate” for prospects/prospect families that are relatively talkative about their interests. I would point to Donte Grantham as an example of a guy who was giving off Clemson vibes and then everyone changed their crystal balls shortly before he announced. Conversely, Kameron Chatman was expected to be an Arizona lean for some time and all those predictions seem to be wrong.
      So, short version, if you see crystal ball projections changing rapidly near an announcement date, put more stock in them than otherwise.

    • geoffclarke

      I guess I’m not seeing where the odds of them both going to Kentucky are slim. Not that I’m predicting that, but it wouldn’t surprise me. To me, it’s just people’s opinions at this point, that carry not much more weight than my own.

  • David Remmler

    I’m assuming they both go elsewhere. Both seem very indecisive and who knows when they will actually make a decision. Booker’s still considering Missouri which has never been a top tier basketball program and Blackmon is still considering a school he decommitted from. And they’re both still considering Kentucky, a shady program crammed with pseudo student-athlete future NBAers and run by a coach with a long history of cheating. So it doesn’t look good. If they come here, that would be great. But if they don’t, I wish them good luck – they might need it.

  • Kenny

    The latest words on the development of Caris certainly eased my anxiety on Blackmon and Booker. Although it would be nice to add one of them into the class, the more pressing need of 2014 is at the power forward spot, with GRIII and McGary leaving, and Wilson and Chatman not ready to action there, I hope that we will get Bolden in the spring.

    • Champswest

      We also lose Morgan.

  • Champswest

    That they are both waiting so long to make their choice, seems to indicate that they like the recruiting process OR, they are waiting for the other guy to announce first (so, maybe if the other guy picks Kentucky, then they go somewhere else). But, who knows what goes on in the minds of 17 year olds.
    I would be happy with either guy (although I do have a preference), but neither is critical to the program.

  • AC1997

    How disappointed should we be about not signing a top SG after our recent success (assuming neither come to UM)? This Booker situation feels like Laquan Treadwell in football – everything seems like a perfect fit and we’ve been recruiting him forever….yet he just doesn’t seem interested.

    Is there a Plan B group out there we’d see the coaches open the door on?

    Finally, not to be the editor police, but in the span of one sentence you list Booker as 6’6″ and then 6’5″. It makes for a confusing read.

    • Champswest

      Check out the recruiting tab on this site for other players of interest.

    • guestavo

      Chatman is a wing. We don’t need another guard, really. Been saying this. I’d rather go after Bolden, as I don’t feel Wilson/Donnal is adequate at the 4 spot.

    • Kenny

      very different. LT is the type of WR Hoke and Borges desperately wanted so that they don’t have to line up Funchess there. Booker fits into Beilein’s system but the similarity ends there. With Chatman in hand and Caris developing nicely, Booker is not a must get and Beilein does not have to throw Spike to the off guard position.

  • guestavo

    Sam Webb is still selling that we get one of the two. Some people seem convinced.

    • guestavo

      I know some of you loved Trevon Bluiett. Seems to be heading to State. Personally, I think he is Alex Legion 2.0 on and off the court.

      • Daniel

        Xavier, in all likelihood. But MSU is definitely putting on the full-court press.

        • guestavo

          Apparently, Trevon’s dad didn’t like how Xavier’s coach handled his practice. Now it seems MSU leads.

          • Dean Olson

            Well obviously your source was incorrect.

      • Kenny

        Really? any evidence besides that he committed and decommitted from UCLA. But it is very interesting that neither UM nor Butler went back in to recruit him.

  • HermosaBlue

    “Booker was introduced with his father, Melvin, during the festivities.”

    Isn’t it against NCAA rules to identify/announce a recruit like that? It’s one thing to do the Blue Chips-type arena introduction with an empty arena, but I’m quite sure it’s a secondary violation to do so in front of a crowd of fans/boosters at a school sporting event.

    • geoffclarke

      Probably. You should notify the NCAA like MSU did with Webber at Minnesota.

    • I assume they were introducing Melvin Booker… and his son Devin.

  • salama

    I think Levert will stay all 4 years and Stauskas should too (though he could conceivably leave after 3), so I won’t be freaking out if we miss on these guards, though having one would be nice.

    When I look at 2015/16, I see this:
    PG-Walton JR Albrecht SR
    SG-Stauskas SR Levert SR
    SF-Chatham SO (Irvin JR) Wilson SO/JR
    PF-Donnal SO/JR Bielfeldt SR
    C-Doyle SO

    Maybe: Hatch,, 2015 Freshman

    I have Walton and Irvin in brackets since they seem like potential pros who might leave early.

    We should recruit a PG for that year if Walton looks a threat to leave, and that class is supposed to be loaded, so getting another swingman who can play seems realistic.

    I’m more worried about inside. We might play 4 out 1 in again, which is fine, but there’s still big depth issues there. Maybe Bolden can be the answer at the 4. I really hope we find a top big man for 2015. We’ll need one if only one of Donnal or Doyle look like starting quality players, and even if they both are good and don’t get hurt/transfer, we’ll still need a freshman who can come in and play a lot off the bench.

    I guess getting Booker or Blackmon would ease this question a bit as Chatham or Wilson could play the 4 as we go small and just beat teams with talent like those Villanova teams with Foye, Lowry, Nardi and those other guards did.

    • guestavo

      We need Brunson and one of Kennard/Coleman/Bacon. Grab Bolden for 2014, hopefully.

      • Chezaroo

        Still wonder about our interest in Eric Davis? A VERY talented combo who has substantial PG skills. Would have to believe we will be monitoring him very closely.

    • geoffclarke

      Ideally we get Zimmerman in 2015, IMO.

      • guestavo

        lol No way we get him, honestly. His mom seems keen on the UK, Arizonas, Dukes of the world and he has every offer imaginable. Go to any teams message board and you will see the same sentiment.

        • geoffclarke

          Thanks for being honest. I did say “ideally”. Also, I’m pretty sure we recently beat Duke for McGary (where Coach Krzyzewski apparently made a pretty good impression) and beat Arizona for Chatman. I’m going to continue to remain optimistic.

          • guestavo

            Chatman and McGary are not Zimmerman and did not have the offer sheet this kid has. We also don’t have a bunch of his teammates on the team to convince him. His stepmom mentions tons of teams on her twitter but never UM. Be optimistic.

          • Chezaroo

            Optimism, the nectar of life! One thing about it is The Zim will have an opportunity to hear what we are about, seeing how involved we are with Thornton Jr. and presumably Bolden.

          • guestavo

            They don’t go to the same school.

          • Chezaroo

            Correct. The drive between Henderson and Las Vegas should allow us to have a presence with all three when we are on the recruiting trail. Great players begat great players.

    • Chezaroo

      I will be pleasantly STUNNED, if Walton is not a four year player!

  • Chazer

    I’m hoping we get both and let the avalanche begin…..yea, I know its a dream. Rest assured, after two years at Michigan they will be primed for the league with one of the best coaches in basketball. They will have to work hard and earn their minutes but it will make them better. Got to be careful at Kentucky….its a house of cards. Lots of egos…..hoping for a shot with our young guys vs.theirs!

    Reagrdless of the outcome…..we will be strong. Target the 2015 class and move on. The culture is solid and the team is poised for another run! Love how THJ is fitting in with the knicks, a very mature rookie.

    Go Blue!

  • Trevor Lahey

    Anybody know of wings that we can jump on late?

    • guestavo

      We already are on Bolden. He is a 3/4, more of a 3 but in our system is a 4.

  • donbrake

    I want us to get at least one of them. But the odds don’t sound all that great.