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10 James Blackmon

Name
James Blackmon
Position
Guard
Class
SR
Hometown (Last School)
Marion, IN (High)
Ht
6'3"
Wt
180
Seasons
1983-84, 1984-85, 1985-86, 1986-87, 1987-88
Birthday
August 7, 1964

James Blackmon was born James Kennedy Blackmon on August 7, 1964, in Grena, Mississippi to Bennie and Delores Blackmon.  He was raised in Marion, Indiana.

Blackmon attracted attention at an early age in the Marion PAL Club Basketball League. Even before he entered junior high school, he had the tag “can’t miss” on him. He had all the signs of becoming a great player.

Sports Hotline wrote a story about him scoring something like 61 points in a PAL Club game. Sometime after that, the Hotline remembers a courteous but confident youngster who came up to the Hotline publisher at a high school game and quietly but calmly said words like “Thanks for putting that in the paper but I scored 62 in that game.”

He played high school basketball at Marion High School, where he was a two-time All-State selection. He averaged 32.6 points per game as a senior on the Marion squad who went 22-6 and scored 52 points in the afternoon game of the State Finals.  Blackmon scored a school and county record, 1,897 points in his sparkling career as a Marion Giant.  He was also a McDonald’s All-American, Parade All-American, Scholastic Coach All-American, and USA Today All-American.

While being recruited by Kentucky, Blackmon was considered an outstanding talent who could become one of the finest guards ever to play at
Kentucky. He possessed an exceptional vertical jump (touches the top of the square on the backboard) and a fine shooting touch.

After graduating from high school, Blackmon enrolled at the University of Kentucky. He played for the Wildcats for four seasons. Blackmon averaged 10.1 points and 3.6 rebounds per game during his college career.   He was named a Captain and Outstanding Senior his senior season.

Blackmon totaled 866 points, 314 rebounds, 271 assists and 149 steals, while starting three out of his four years as a Wildcat. Blackmon played in the 1984 Final Four as a freshman and served as co-captain during his senior year.  He was an excellent ball handler who only committed 43 turnovers in 992 minutes of play in his career.

In the summer before beginning his career at Kentucky, Blackmon earned a gold medal in the FIBA Junior World Championships in 1983, along with teammate Kenny Walker.

As a freshman at Kentucky, Blackmon played in all 34 games, starting twice.  He started at Mississippi and led the team in scoring with a career-high 15 points.  He also started against Houston.  He averaged 3.8 points to rank seventh on the team.  Blackmon hit a last-second shot to enable Wildcats to win the regular season game at Illinois.  It was Blackmon’s two steals that sparked Kentucky’s 65-44 rout of Louisville in 1983’s first regular season “Dream Game.”

As a sophomore at Kentucky, Blackmon played in 29 of UK’s 31 games, starting in 18 games.  He was fifth on the team in scoring with a 5.4 average and third on the team in assists with 63. He was second in steals with 31.  Blackmon scored a career-high 17 points against Toledo in the opening game of the season and scored in double figures in six games.  He was sixth on the team in minutes played with 22.2 a game.

There was a well-documented personality clash between Blackmon and head Coach Joe B. Hall in Blackmon’s first two seasons.  He actually left UK for one day in the winter of 1985.  Upon his return, he let it be known that if Hall had not retired after the 1984-85 season, he would have left for good.

As a junior at Kentucky under new head Coach Eddie Sutton, Blackmon started all 36 games for the Wildcats. He averaged 9.4 points and 4.0 rebounds a game. He was the fourth-leading scorer and third-leading rebounder on the team.  He dramatically improved his shooting, from 41.2 percent in 1984-85 to 48.8 percent and was the third-leading assist man on the team with 77. Blackmon was second in steals with 49.  He committed only 43 turnovers in 992 minutes of play.  Blackmon scored a career-high 22 points twice against Vanderbilt at Rupp Arena and at Alabama.  He scored in double figures in 17 of Kentucky’s 36 games.

As a senior at Kentucky, Blackmon averaged 8.5 points and 3.1 rebounds per game.  On February 4, 1987, Blackmon scored a career-high 27 points against Auburn.

Blackmon was drafted 94th overall in the 5th round of the 1987 NBA Draft by New Jersey but was waived after playing in four exhibition games.  He played professional basketball for one season in the Continental Basketball Association (CBA). He then returned to Indiana and began his coaching career.

Blackmon has coached high school basketball in Indiana for over 20 years. He has coached at several schools, including Marion High School, Bishop Luers High School, and Fort Wayne South High School. Blackmon has led his teams to the state championship game four times, and he has won two state championships.

Blackmon was inducted into the Indiana Hall of Fame in 2023.  Blackmon is a respected figure in the Indiana basketball community. He is known for his knowledge of the game and his ability to develop players. Blackmon is also a passionate coach who is always willing to work hard.

Blackmon met his wife, Sailaja Blackmon, at Kentucky and the two have three sons; James, Vijay and Jalen. 

College Statistics:

Per Game

Season G GS MP FG FGA FG% 2P 2PA 2P% 3P 3PA 3P% FT FTA FT% ORB DRB TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
1983-84 34 2 15.3 1.5 3.4 .456             0.7 1.4 .490     1.2 2.5 0.6 0.1 1.4 1.8 3.8
1984-85 29 18 22.2 2.3 5.7 .412             0.7 1.2 .571     1.4 2.2 1.1 0.0 1.2 1.8 5.4
1985-86 36 36 27.6 4.1 8.4 .488             1.1 2.0 .577     4.0 2.1 1.4 0.1 1.2 2.4 9.4
1986-87 29 28 28.7 3.1 6.8 .457 2.0 3.8 .523 1.1 3.0 .375 1.1 2.0 .552     3.1 2.3 1.7 0.2 1.8 2.4 8.4
Career 128 84 23.4 2.8 6.1 .460     .523     .375 0.9 1.7 .549     2.5 2.3 1.2 0.1 1.4 2.1 6.8

Totals

Season G GS MP FG FGA FG% 2P 2PA 2P% 3P 3PA 3P% FT FTA FT% ORB DRB TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
1983-84 34 2 520 52 114 .456             24 49 .490     42 84 19 5 48 60 128
1984-85 29 18 645 68 165 .412             20 35 .571     40 63 31 1 35 52 156
1985-86 36 36 992 148 303 .488             41 71 .577     143 77 49 5 43 85 337
1986-87 29 28 833 90 197 .457 57 109 .523 33 88 .375 32 58 .552     89 67 50 6 51 69 245
Career 128 84 2990 358 779 .460     .523 33 88 .375 117 213 .549     314 291 149 17 177 266 866

On This Day In UK Basketball History

On February 22, 1969, Dan Issel joined the 1,000-point club.  He did it in 49 games.

 

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