Announcement Primer: James Blackmon Jr.

Dylan Burkhardt


James Blackmon Jr. will announce his college decision this evening at around 9 p.m. at halftime of ESPNU’s Thursday night football coverage (the Louisiana Monroe-Troy game kicks off at 7:30). Here’s everything you need to know about Blackmon, the top remaining target on Michigan’s class of 2014 recruiting board.

James Blackmon Jr.

247Composite: 31st
Schools: Kentucky, Michigan, Indiana
Official visits: Kentucky, Michigan, Indiana
247 Sports Crystal Ball: Kentucky 56% Kentucky 44%

James Blackmon Jr. has been rumored to want to follow in his father’s footsteps and choose Kentucky since he decommitted from Indiana.

Blackmon has done his due diligence in the form of unofficial visits to Michigan, Kentucky, Louisville, Indiana and Michigan State after decommiting from the Hoosiers. He followed those trips up with official visits to Michigan, Kentucky and most recently Indiana. It appeared the Wolverines could be on the verge of landing a commitment when the entire Wolverine staff made an impromptu in-home visit a couple weeks back, but those days appear to have faded after Blackmon’s Kentucky official visit for Big Blue Madness

For much of the last two months, the talk has been that Blackmon and Booker – arguably the top two shooters in the country – would attend different schools. That theory gave credence to the notion that Michigan would be able to land whichever prospect didn’t attend Kentucky. Could Booker’s commitment to Kentucky five hours earlier sway Blackmon?

It sounds like it might but not necessarily toward Ann Arbor. Word spread like wildfire throughout the day that Indiana could be inline to grab a recommitment from Blackmon. A lot of the speculation revolves around the rumors that Blackmon may have been recruiting other Indiana targets to come to Indiana. National consensus shifted as 17 pundits switched their predictions to Indiana on the 247 Sports Crystal Ball just one day after there was a consensus that Blackmon was headed to Kentucky.’s experts also switched their picks to Indiana.

It appears there will be more drama tonight than we saw with Devin Booker’s announcement earlier but right now it would still be a shock if Blackmon chose the Wolverines.

Devin Booker [Kentucky Commit]

247Composite: 26th
Schools: Kentucky, Missouri, Michigan, Michigan State
Official visits: Kentucky, Missouri, Michigan, Michigan State
247 Sports Crystal BallKentucky 95% Michigan 5%

Devin Booker will announce first, at 4:00 p.m. at his high school, and all signs point to him selecting Kentucky or Missouri. While Michigan was the favorite in his recruitment last year, the Wolverines slipped from that position this summer when Kentucky put on the full court press. Kentucky was (and probably still is) thought to be the favorite in Booker’s recruitment, especially after Booker’s official visit for the Wildcats’ Alumni game. Booker visited with his good friend, point guard Tyler Ulis, who committed after the trip.

Missouri is the team making a late push. The Tigers hosted Booker on campus twice in the last two weeks – once for his official visit and then again while his father and the 1994 team were honored. Michigan has hosted Booker nearly 10 times for unofficial visits as well as an official visit this fall. However, the allure of home (Booker grew up in Grand Haven and his mother still lives in Michigan) doesn’t appear to be as strong as it once was.

How to Watch

Booker’s announcement will be streamed live by at 4 p.m. (eastern) right here.

Blackmon’s announcement will be around 9 p.m. (halftime of the Louisiana-Monroe vs. Troy football game) on ESPNU.

This post was updated at 7 p.m. on October 31st

  • DingoBlue

    Very depressing as it stands currently. Even Sam Webb downgraded his optimism on Blackmon.

  • Kevin in GR

    Well that’s about as depressing as the weather!

  • Indiana_Matt

    I don’t get it. I mean, I kind of do (Calipari will get you to the NBA blah blah blah). But not really. I don’t see why these guys want to go to a team with log jams of McDonalds All-americans at all the positions. Go somewhere where you can get some shots up and develop into a leader. Nothing wrong with dudes averaging 25pts a game. More fun to watch.

    Oh, well. I still think we look very good for next year. I am tired of recruiting. Let’s start focusing on how unbelievable we’ll be this year!

    • Tyler

      Kinda like USC with RBs. Just seems these kids lose all common sense when the school comes calling.

  • Real

    Looking like a long shot right now. But I’m not too disappointed. Wish them luck wherever they end up, but if they end up at UK, there’s nothing I’d love more than to beat them on the way to a championship!

  • If Caris LeVert’s development is the real deal, it’s a bit easier to sleep at night with both decisions.

    LeVert, Stauskas, Irvin would still be significant wing experience returning next season, not to mention the incoming class.

    ’15 wing recruiting becomes interesting though.

    • jblair52

      Agreed. Add Chatman + Wilson (stretch 4) and Hatch if he’s able…

      • jkuofm27

        I think maybe Chatman hurt our chances with these guys?

        Especially with Booker who will probably be a 2/3. Chatman will probably be more 2/3/4 in Beilein system. However, with Stauskus, Levert and Irvin maybe they perceive that as too much.

        Blackmon I don’t understand as much, because I think he would play 2/1, which is less jammed.

    • David Remmler

      Yes, I’m not too disappointed if Michigan misses on both these guys. Beilein’s eye for talent has resulted in several elite players at the SG positiion on the current roster. And Chatman looks like an elite talent on the same level as Booker and Blackmon. Ultimately, we’re better off with players who aren’t the typical one-and-done Kentucky recruits but who are ultimately NBA-caliber with a year or two of great coaching.

  • David Remmler

    Like others here, I don’t understand Kentucky’s unprecedented ability to pull in almost any player it wants. On paper, Michigan would be the better choice for both these players. Given Calipari’s history of cheating and the astonishing number of 5 star recruits piling up in Lexington, it’s pretty safe to guess that something slimy’s going on.

  • jblair52

    IF we lose out on both of these guys to Kentucky…I’ll still get a little sense of satisfaction knowing:
    a) Booker didn’t go to MSU
    b) Blackmon spurned Crean ….actually this one alone might make me thrilled haha ESPECIALLY if he takes Lyles with him!

    • Laughingatu


  • Kenny

    Totally agree with Dylan that we should relax today. The more pressing need of 2014 is someone who can play 4 immediately, aka someone like Bolden, In fact, Kentucky has a down year in recruiting and will provide more immediate playing time to both, at least for Blackmon, and to less extend Booker too. But I won’t be surprised at all if Booker later finds him unhappy there and transfer out.

    • We already have two guys that can play the four in the class and a big. Jonah Bolden is a nice prospect but I’m not sure the four is a “pressing need” at this point.

      • guestavoe

        Wilson and Donnal as your depth at the 4 is a scary proposition. I’d rather slide Chatman to the 2 and use Bolden as a 3/4.

      • Kenny

        It is much more pressing than wings in 2014. Wilson and Chatman can be future 4’s but I will bet $20 with anyone that Wilson will red shirt. Chatman will be better staying at 3. The remaining of the choice is Donnal, Beilfeldt and a bulked up Irvin. While Donnal could be a reasonable choice, he has to backup Horford at 5 unless Doyle burns his red-shirt. If Horford picks up two quick fouls in the first five minutes, we are left with Max Beilfeldt. I think that coaches are preparing Irvin for playing 4 next season given how he was used in the first game.

        • DoubES

          I think you make some good points about the potential need for an impact 4 in the 2014 class, and it was in line with my thinking. That said, when you consider that the 120 mpg between the 1-3 will likely be split up by Walton, Spike, Caris, Stauskas, Irvin, and Chatman, someone (or two) from that group are going to need to log some minutes at the 4 so that we are getting our best guys out there. It may not be ideal from a positional fit perspective (hopefully a second year Irvin could match the bulk of GRIII as a frosh which was borderline workable on defense, because I don’t know if a frosh Chatman can), but it could work out OK.

        • Webbdog

          Chatman is coming to Michigan to play the same position Jalen Rose played.

  • JVS

    Always thought there was no way they would go to UK due to potential issues with playing time (Ulis, guys there already, guys in the pipe for 2015), them seemingly to be more aligned to the JB way, etc. Looking like that will be dead wrong, but wish them the best, and overall pretty happy with what we have even more so if Caris’s Concordia game is any indication of what is to come.

    Just hoping neither stays in conference, and same with Looney

  • A lot of rumors out there regarding Blackmon but a lot of them seem to revolve around IU. Could be at least some interest tonight, we shall see.

  • guestavoe

    I’ve been saying the whole “playing time” thing you’ve guys been pushing was fantasy…. UK has more minutes to offer next year. They just do.

  • goblue18

    Some guy named Chip Sylvie, no idea if he is reputable, tweeted: “Final tweet for a while: I just got a text. I can confirm Devin Booker will, indeed, commit to Kentucky today at 4 pm ET”

  • antidaily

    Where’s Looney headed? Kennard?

    • Looney is about to announce. Crazy rumors in every direction there.

      Wonder if Booker and Blackmon (possibly) to Kentucky could give Kennard any second thoughts about UK? I personally don’t think Booker or Blackmon are one-and-done but I assume Cal will recruit like they are.

      • DingoBlue

        This is something I’ve been talking about. If we miss out on both Blackmon and Booker this year to UK, I think Kennard would have to be watching that and it could help us. Still would be a VERY hard pull from UK for him though. I would say though that it would help with Coleman more, who I’m more setting my sights on at this point because the mutual interest seems high.

      • antidaily

        Sort of what I was implying. Interesting stuff.

      • YP

        Another reason not to believe those Crystal ball projections from 247sports. None of the so-called experts had Looney for UCLA, and there he goes!

        • Talk about a bizarre recruitment (Looney).

          • Josh

            I do not think we can downplay, under estimate or ignore the impact that shoe companies have on recruiting these days. Word is Adidas was influential in the UCLA grab. UCLA was never on Looney’s radar. Same story with Wiggins’ move to Kansas – even though Kansas had recruited Wiggins early in the process, the word was that Adidas was a major player there (that has played out a bit recently with the rumor that Adidas is prepared to offer Wiggins a ridiculous shoe deal when he turns pro). So when these seemingly odd recruiting situations surface, I think it is fair to look at the shoe companies and their various affiliations.

  • Webbdog

    Face it. These kids are not worried about playing time, Have you not noticed what is going on?? Kids go to Kentucky now because it is a Factory/Academy for the Premier Players. Its sort of like Team USA Tryouts for an Entire Year or however long you plan to stay aboard, Findlay Prep/Oak Hill Academy of College Basketball. The scouts will be there to see what they can do during Practice/Scrimmages. Have you not paid attention to how Kentucky spins the Stories on their latest class?? If you read anything on their latest class James Young is being Pumped by Scouts who have witnessed their PRACTICE/SCRIMMAGES as the Prospect with the Most NBA Ready Game. I don’t Blame them, Why not go to School and practice against the best to better your game. I would love for Both Booker and Blackmon to attend Michigan, but if we get neither, I understand and I respect their Decisions. I still think we Get Booker though, just a gut Feeling.

    • guestavoe

      UK is great at getting 1 and done tot he NBA. Booker and Blackmon Jr are 3 year type players. Should have went to coaches like Self, JB, Miller to develop their talent long term but hey

  • Justin

    Guys…I’m very much expecting both players to commit to Kentucky tonight. This is tough for UM next year but good news for the 2015’s class. We have to think Stauskas might leave after junior year and Max may not be with team anymore. We will have plenty of ships to offer in 2015. Needing some big man, a wing, and another PG…That will be JB’s biggest year of recruiting to this date. Make or break year for recruiting and whether or not UM can sustain top 10 success for many years to come.

    • Webbdog

      I see Caris Levert Leaving before Nik Stauskas. We may lose Both. Could Happen after their Jr. Year.

    • Brian Buck

      Why is max leaving ?

      • Brick93

        Might not get a 5th year.

  • Live updates from Booker presser here

  • Chazer

    Hey guys the sky is not falling! Our team is solid and will be for years to come. Some guys wont fit this culture and that’s ok. They are so young and making tough decisions. Our best players will be one that will conform to the culture and believe in each other!

  • Ben

    Whatever. Remember. Kentucky lost in the first round of NIT last year. They are Not world beaters. Bunch of over confident kids that think they ate better than what they are. NIT !!!!!!!!!!!!

    • indiana.austin


  • guestavoe

    Anywhere but IU

    • arsenal926

      he chose IU

  • Alex

    I can live with IU. Keep talent in the Big Ten. Good luck unless you’re playing us.