Indiana head coach Tom Crean said Tuesday that junior James Blackmon Jr. will be cleared for full-contact activities before the end of this month. This was reported by Jon Rothstein as well as various other outlets.
Blackmon partially tore the ACL in his right knee during practice last December 28. In 13 games prior to getting hurt, the guard averaged just under 16 points to go along with 4.2 rebounds per game for the Hoosiers. Indiana went 12-3 with him in the lineup, and would go on to finish 27-8, good for the top spot in the Big Ten.
The 21-year-old was a five-star recruit out of Marion High School in Indiana, ranked by ESPN as the 20th-best prospect in the nation as a senior. Despite receiving interest from Michigan State, Kansas, Kentucky and Michigan, Blackmon committed to Indiana in October 2013.
He was the Hoosiers’ second-leading scorer during his freshman campaign, averaging 15.7 points on 38.7 percent shooting from three-point range. His 77 made threes broke Eric Gordon’s school record for a freshman. Blackmon would go on to earn a spot on the Big Ten All-Freshman team as well as Honorable Mention All-Big Ten.
Without arguably their best player in the lineup, Indiana went on to lose in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament to Michigan despite having earned a No. 1 seed. The Hoosiers were the No. 5 seed in the East Regional of the NCAA Tournament, where they would go on to beat Chattanooga and Kentucky to advance to the Sweet 16. They lost to the eventual national runner-up, North Carolina, 101-86 in that round.