It came as no big shock that James Blackmon Jr would get an offer from John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats pretty much the instant he de-committed from the Indiana Hoosiers. Blackmon, at 6’3 and 170, is rated the 33rd best recruit in the 2014 class and one of the top shooting guards. It’s only natural that he got on John Calipari’s radar, but Blackmon has the potential to be a very special recruit for the Kentucky Wildcats.
Not just because of his talent … but because James Blackmon Jr has the potential to be something that Kentucky Wildcats basketball has never really had … a true all-star legacy player. And his father has cast quite a shadow for him to fill should his son come to Kentucky.
Like his son, James Blackmon Sr was one of college basketball’s top recruits when he committed to Kentucky. Blackmon, a guard out of Marion High in Indiana, was a Parade All American, Scholastic Coach All American, USA Today All American, and a McDonald’s All American. It will definitely be a special thing if his son can earn his wat to the McDonald’s All American game, and with a solid season, he could.
James Blackmon Sr joined a Kentucky team that was coming off a OT loss to Louisville in the Mideast Regional Finals or otherwise known as the “Dream Game”. The Kentucky/Louisville rivalry was white-hot at the time and Blackmon was part of a recruiting class that included former Louisville Male star Winston Bennett. Blackmon joined a team that also featured iconic players like Kenny Walker, Melvin Turpin, and Sam Bowie, so the elder Blackmon knows what it is like to play on a team of superstars. It was obvious that Blackmon was up to the task of playing on a star-studded lineup and feeling the pressure of intense rivalries as his first two college games were against Indiana and Louisville.
#2 Kentucky thumped #6 Louisville 65-44 at Rupp Arena and then it was time for the newly minted #1 Wildcats to face Blackmon’s former state school Indiana. In just his second college game, Blackmon led UK in scoring with 14 points on 5-8 shooting and UK defeated the Hoosiers 59-54. Playing behind Roger Harden and Jim Masters, Blackmon saw a good bit of minutes his freshman year and played in 34 games, averaging 3.7 points. Even early, Blackmon wowed the Rupp crowd with his athletic moves though. That Kentucky team made it to the Final Four and had a seven point halftime lead on Georgetown before enduring one of the most disappointing halves in Kentucky history.
Like the rest of the team, Blackmon struggled his sophomore year. He got off to a hot start, scoring 33 points in the first two games, but his shooting went south and he found himself in Joe B Hall’s doghouse near the end of the year. That team was thin and Hall went a very short rotation and Blackmon found himself sitting behind Harden and Davender. Blackmon played just two minutes in a March game versus Florida. For the year, Blackmon averaged 5.37 and his shooting dropped four points to 41%.