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IU's James Blackmon set to stay in NBA draft

IU's James Blackmon, Robert Johnson, Juwan Morgan, Thomas Bryant and Devonte Green get together during the March Big Ten tourney loss to Wisconsin in Washington DC. (File photo by the Associated Press)
IU's James Blackmon, Robert Johnson, Juwan Morgan, Thomas Bryant and Devonte Green get together during the March Big Ten tourney loss to Wisconsin in Washington DC. (File photo by the Associated Press)

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ONLINE: For more on sports, follow Pete DiPrimio via Twitter at www.twitter.com/pdiprimio

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press

Junior guard reportedly won't return to Hoosiers

Sunday, May 07, 2017 09:27 am

BLOOMINGTON – Indiana's basketball scholarship problem is apparently solved.

Guard James Blackmon is reportedly staying in the NBA Draft and won't return for his senior season.

As first reported by CBS Sports Jon Rothstein, Blackmon, a former Bishop Luers standout, is set to sign with an agent.

That would leave the Hoosiers with the allowed 13 players on scholarship. Two other Hoosiers, OG Anunoby and Thomas Bryant, are also set to stay in the draft and not return.

Blackmon participated in IU's graduation ceremony on Saturday, although he has not officially graduated. He is set to do so in August.

No official announcement has been released.

While Anunoby and Bryant were invited to this week's NBA Combine in Chicago (both project to be drafted — Anunoby in the first round, Bryant in the second), Blackmon was not invited and does not project to be drafted.

However, he could sign as a free agent, as former teammates Yogi Ferrell and Troy Williams did. Both ended up on NBA teams — Ferrell with Dallas and Williams with Houston. Or he could play overseas.

Blackmon set career highs in scoring (17.0 points) and three-point baskets (91) this past season. He scored in double figures in 28 of 30 games. He earned third-team All-Big Ten honors and was twice named Big Ten player of the week.

He was impressive down the stretch. He had 22 points and eight rebounds against Ohio State; 23 points, eight rebounds and four assists against Iowa in the Big Ten tourney; and 17 points and eight rebounds against Wisconsin in the Big Ten tourney.

Blackmon finished with 1,235 career points, which ranks 33rd in school history.

His 205 three-pointers rank fourth in school history behind A.J. Guyton (283), Ferrell (272) and Jordan Hulls (254).

Those numbers would have been far higher if he hadn't missed 26 games because of knee injuries, including the entire 2016 Big Ten season.

He averaged 16.3 points and 4.9 rebounds for his career.

Blackmon spent the spring working out with new coach Archie Miller, and made a big offensive impression.

“James Blackmon's probably the best shooter I've ever been around, just in terms of what we were able to accomplish with him in three weeks and watching him work out in our framework and watching him shoot and do some of the things that he did, and looking at his numbers,” Miller said. “It's probably the best numbers I've seen in my time doing some of the stuff that we were doing.”

Still in the draft, and deciding on whether or not to return, is guard Robert Johnson. He also wasn't invited to the NBA Combine and doesn't project to get drafted. He has until May 24 to decide.

Johnson, who had one year of eligibility remaining, set career highs this past season by averaging 12.8 points and 4.4 rebounds. He has 978 career points.

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ONLINE: For more on sports, follow Pete DiPrimio via Twitter at www.twitter.com/pdiprimio

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