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James Blackmon Jr. Showing Who He Really Is

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James Blackmon Jr. may have an easygoing and loose personality, but don’t let that fool you into thinking he doesn’t have drive and determination on the court.

“In college, it’s hard to change it because you can get a label,” Blackmon Jr. told Basketball Insiders. “If you start off like people think you don’t care, they’re going to think that even if you’re going hard.”

Taking part in the IMG Professional Basketball Combine, it’s a stigma the NBA hopeful is looking to leave behind after three seasons in Bloomington, Indiana.

“You know, it’s an honor,” he said of attending the event. “Every time you get to put yourself closer to a dream that you worked so hard for, so that’s what I did. I just took it as a test and tried to go kill it.”

During his tenure under head coach Tom Crean, Blackmon was widely known for his dead-eye shooting from the perimeter. In his final year with the team, the junior guard led the Big Ten in three-point percentage (42.3) and ranked third in total threes with 91 made.

In addition to that, Blackmon sat atop the conference’s leaderboard with a 60.1 effective field goal percentage and was runner-up to Michigan’s Moritz Wagner in true shooting percentage.

But despite his natural ability to let it fly, the former Hoosier wants the world to know that he’s not one-dimensional and has much more to offer than just a jump shot.

“Showing some things that I wasn’t able to show that much in college,” Blackmon said when asked what he had to prove to teams. “I can handle the ball a lot better than a lot of people think.

“I can shoot off the dribble and get others involved also, and also defend at the point guard position. That’s what I tried to show out there.”

During Tuesday’s workout, Blackmon displayed his versatility quite well. In the lane agility drill, he was able to give teams a glimpse of his lateral quickness and placed third on Day 1 with a time of 10.70 seconds.

He also played among the other five members of his group in a 3-on-3 scrimmage, where he knocked down shots from a multitude of different areas and offered a bit of an aggressive, physical side as well.

“I go hard whether it’s in the weight room or on the floor, so when I got a guy that I feel like is smaller than me I feel like I can post him up,” Blackmon, who stands at 6-foot-4 with a 190-pound frame, said. “But I also like to play on the perimeter.”

Blackmon’s most surprising–and ferocious–moment of the day was a colossal right-handed dunk on a hard drive to the basket. The finish and reaction to the play were like something you’d see out of any NBA game and emotion you’d rarely see from him at the collegiate level.

“Since I’m just a laid-back type of guy, I don’t show that much expression,” Blackmon said. “A lot of people feel like I don’t care or I’m not trying on the defensive end, so that’s just one thing I’m trying to go out here and show these teams, and I feel like I did a great job of that.”

The PBC was a success for him, but the journey is only beginning. He’s already spoken with eight teams and will potentially have up to 16 workouts next week to express his more intense and edgier side.

One thing is for sure though: Whomever he talks to will get to know the real James Blackmon Jr.

“People are knowing who I actually am,” he said. “Once people get a chance to meet with me, they’ll see the type of person I am.”

Make sure to follow Basketball Insiders on Twitter at @BBallInsiders.

About Spencer Davies

Spencer Davies

Spencer Davies is an NBA writer based in Cleveland in his first year with Basketball Insiders. Covering the league and the Cavaliers for the past two seasons, his bylines have appeared on Bleacher Report, FOX Sports and HoopsHype.