PREP BASKETBALL | MCDONALD'S NOTES

Blackmon excited about IU

2014-04-02T17:00:00Z 2014-04-03T00:56:06Z Blackmon excited about IUMike Nieto mike.nieto@nwi.com, (219) 933-3232 nwitimes.com
April 02, 2014 5:00 pm  • 

CHICAGO | Indiana University recruit and McDonald's All-American James Blackmon Jr. almost followed in his dad's footsteps as he said Kentucky was on one of the schools he considered.

The Marion (Ind.) High School product was one of 48 boys and girls who participated in the McDonald's All-American Games on Wednesday at United Center.

James Blackmon Sr. was a 1983 McDonald's All-American and also was a Marion star.

He would have been part of a Kentucky class which includes Marian Catholic's Tyler Ulis, The Times Illinois player of the year, Trey Lyles, who led Indianapolis Tech to the Indiana Class 4A title, Devin Booker and Karl-Anthoiny Towns.

"I think IU and coach Tom Crean are a good fit for me," Blackmon said. "They kind of got spoiled with (Victor) Oladipo, and it was kind of a down year. I expect we'll be back."

Blackmon Jr. won the 3-point contest earlier in the week and said he liked the fit at IU. It also gives him a chance to develop his own identity.

"Coach Crean, he will push me hard and make me better," Blackmon said. "He will get me to where I need to be."

He is a National Honor Society member. He transferred to Marion from Fort Wayne Bishop Luers. He played his high school ball at one of the legendary high schools in the state. Besides his dad, the school has produced four Mr. Basketball winners. The most recent were Lyndon Jones and Jay Edwards, who shared the award in 1987.

"I heard a lot of stories about my dad and I really enjoyed them," Blackmon said. "I heard how my dad had 52 points in a game. My first game at Marion, I scored 54."

Rich get richer: Duke and Kentucky have five recruits each between the boys and girls teams.

Kentucky has four boys players, plus Alyssa Rice of Reynoldsburg, Ohio.

Duke has national player of the year Jahlil Okafor, Tyus Jones and Justise Winslow on the boys teams, plus Lynee' Belton on the girls team. North Carolina has four male recruits, while Kansas has two male recruits in Cliff Alexander and Kelly Oubre Jr.

Notre Dame recruits: National semifinalist Notre Dame has two recruits on the women's team in Kathryn Westbeld and Brianna Turner.

Turner, from Pearland, Texas, said she is looking forward to being part of one of the top programs in the country.

"This is the third time in four years they are in the Final Four," Turner said. "That says a lot about a program when you can do that."

Young man in a hurry: West player and Kentucky recruit Trey Lyles helped Indianapolis Tech beat Lake Central on Saturday to win the Indiana Class 4A state title, but he didn't have time to celebrate. He had to be in Chicago on Sunday for the McDonald's festivities.

"I wanted to be with my teammates, but I had to come up here," Lyles. "It was great to not onyl win a state title, but to be the first Tech team to do so."

He said he was impressed with how Lake Central came back after trailing by double-digits at halftime.

"They came out in the third and fourth quarters and their shots started falling," Lyles said. "They didn't quit and played hard to the end."

Duke perspective: Duke recruit Jones, who is from Apple Valley, Minn., said he was happy to see Duke assistant coach Steve Wojciechowski get the Marquette head coaching job.

"He recruited me (to Duke) and he was straightforward about everything," Jones said. "I am sad to see him go, but happy for him. I think Wojo will do a great job at Marquette."

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