The roller coaster ride that has been James Blackmon Jr.'s recruitment is finally at an end. Blackmon Jr.'s recent announcement on ESPNU means that Tom Crean and Indiana will come out of it with one of the top recruits in the country.
Blackmon Jr. was a long-time IU recruit. He verbally committed in 2010, and everyone went on with their lives thinking he was going to be a part of Indiana's 2014 class.
Seemingly out of nowhere, he decided to reopen his recruitment in August 2013, and Crean and Hoosier faithful everywhere were shocked.
Blackmon Jr. hit the recruiting trail, and many of the nation's top programs were in hot pursuit. Soon, he had a list of finalists that included Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Michigan State and Kansas.
Going into this week, Kentucky was considered to be the front-runner. Blackmon Jr. attended UK's Big Blue Madness and was so impressed he almost cancelled (subscription required) his planned trip to Bloomington.
Lucky for Indiana, he decided to come to Bloomington one more time.
Still, Kentucky was believed to be the favorite, until Oct. 31. According to AllHoosiers.com's Justin Albers (subscription required), the decision was between Kentucky and Indiana, and it was 50/50.
Crean just won a huge coin flip.
Blackmon Jr. is a monumental addition for Indiana. The No. 19 player in ESPN's 100 is a dynamic offensive threat. He puts up points in bunches.
Blackmon Jr. is the type of player who could lead IU in scoring. Indiana needed a prototypical shooting guard, and Blackmon Jr. fits the bill.
Blackmon Jr. certainly put Crean and Hoosier fans through a lot, but in the end, the heartache and waiting were worth it.