FORT WAYNE – Vijay Blackmon knows what the expectations will be on him when older brother James Blackmon Jr. moves on to college.
Blackmon Jr. completed a stellar career at Bishop Luers and Marion with more than 2,300 points and a third-place finish for the 2014 Indiana Mr. Basketball. But he’s heading to Indiana University, leaving Vijay as the potential main scorer for Marion next season.
Get stronger and become a better scorer, because next year for high school, I have to fill my brother’s role, Vijay said. There’s no pressure. I saw my brother handle it really well, and hopefully, I can do some of the things he has done. And get a state championship, something he couldn’t do.
Vijay, who played his freshman season at Luers, averaged 12 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.6 assists last year for Marion. The Giants lost to Kokomo 74-69 in the sectional semifinals.
The Blackmon brothers started playing at Marion after their father, James Blackmon Sr., took the head boys basketball coaching position at his alma mater after nine years coaching the Knights.
The 6-foot-2, 165-pound Vijay could follow in his brother’s footsteps in another way with an offer from IU among his college suitors.
He also has interest from Purdue, Notre Dame and UCLA.
It’s really easy having a Big Ten offer, Vijay said of the recruiting process.
I can just focus on getting better. It’s really exciting to go through. I just want to keep working hard, and hopefully, I can make the best decision for me.
Vijay was playing in Fort Wayne this weekend with the Spiece Indy Heat seniors-to-be team (a level up for Vijay) as part of the 2014 Bill Hensley Memorial Run-N-Slam All-Star Classic.
It means a lot because I know a lot of people here, Vijay said of playing in Fort Wayne again. I see a lot of familiar faces.
Vijay has been playing with Homestead sophomore Caleb Swanigan on the Spiece Indy Heat team.
Swanigan also has a scholarship offer from IU and also played AAU basketball last year with James Jr.
It depends on what he does, whether he steps up and becomes the man, Swanigan said of Vijay at Marion. He’s going to be a focus, so it depends on his attitude.
When you have been playing with your big brother, now you have to be the big brother. It’s about developing mentally to be a killer out there on the court.