It may be surprising, but there's no downside to the choice. Indiana's James Blackmon will officially enter the NBA Draft, but remain without an agent as to retain his eligibility to return to Indiana next season -- if he chooses.
The full release from Indiana is below -- with Tom Crean's comments. It's a bit of surprise for Blackmon to declare, considering that he missed Indiana's final 22 games in the 2015-16 season. But, yet again, maybe it isn't. Blackmon flirted with entering the NBA Draft after his freshman season, and with the new pre-draft rules, there's absolutely no reason for players with any aspirations of playing professionally to not enter the Draft. Blackmon will be able to, at worst, garner feedback from NBA scouts and get experience with the process for future seasons. If he blows up in workouts and teams see something they really like? He gets paid. It's a rare win-win for the athletes, and you shouldn't get upset with a 20-something for exploring his long-term career options.
Blackmon currently isn't listed in DraftExpress' 2016 or 2017 Mock Drafts.For comparison, Thomas Bryant (7th), OG Anunoby (20th), and Troy Williams (48th) are all projected to be selected in the 2017 Draft currently. Blackmon, as it stands now, would have much longer odds to be taken in the 2016 Draft than does Williams or the recently graduated Yogi Ferrell -- who's currently projected to be taken as a mid-to-late second round pick.
BLOOMINGTON, Indiana - Indiana University men's basketball player James Blackmon, Jr. will put his name in for this year's NBA Draft but will not hire an agent.
"James is going to test the waters and see where he stands in the eyes of the NBA at this time," said IU Coach Tom Crean. "He is going to go through the process with both eyes open with the goal of receiving the most complete and current evaluation possible."
Blackmon, Jr. missed the final 22 games of the season after having knee surgery in early January. He averaged 15.8 points in 13 games and shot 46.3% from three-point range as the Hoosiers ended the year with a final #9 ranking in the USA Today Coaches Poll, a Sweet Sixteen appearance in the NCAA Tournament and an outright Big Ten Championship.