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Blackmon Jr. to host hoops camp at Marion High School

BY SCOTT HUNT - shunt@chronicle-tribune.com

Summer basketball camps are an important part of the development for young players, and the chance to learn the game from players with professional experience can be invaluable.

Kids in Grant County have the opportunity this week to learn skills and mingle with a player on the cusp of an NBA career when James Blackmon Jr. hosts the JBJ Basketball Camp in Marion High School’s Bill Green Arena on Friday and Saturday.

Blackmon Jr. said the camp is a product of discussions between him and his dad, current Marion boys basketball coach James Blackmon.

“We thought it would be a good idea to just give back in Marion where I went to school at and grew up a little bit,” said Blackmon Jr. by phone Monday evening. “My dad just got it started.”

Blackmon Jr. is currently spending time in Indianapolis, working with a personal trainer and continuing to hone the skills necessary for a shot to play in the NBA. He recalled some of the youth camps and other camps he attended as a rising player. He said those experiences helped shape his playing career and hopes to begin by molding another generation of players.

“I had a lot (of memories). Growing up I went to a lot of college and top player camps,” Blackmon Jr. said. “When I got in high school, I got invited to Kevin Durant’s camp, and I got invited to LeBron James Skills Academy. Those are some of my favorite memories, getting a chance to do that.

“Growing up as a kid, I would want to go to a player that I looked up to, be able to attend one of his camps and just be around him,” he added. “So I feel like it’s a good idea to start this.”

The JBJ Basketball Camp is open to incoming fourth through 12th graders in Grant County and costs $40 to attend.

The camp will broken up into two sessions with fourth through seventh graders going from 9 a.m. to noon and eighth through 12th graders playing from 1 to 4 p.m.

Marion’s current varsity players will help run the morning session before taking part in the afternoon’s activities. 

Blackmon Jr. said a lot of focus will be on fundamentals, shooting and ball handling in particular, but he also wants to share some of the wisdom he’s gained from a stellar career that has him on the NBA’s doorstep entering the summer.

“I’ll be there and I’ll be able to interact with them, that’s what I think the most important part is. I’ll be able to answer questions,” Blackmon Jr. said. “Growing up I would have liked to have a guy have a camp like this and me be able to ask him questions about the journey. I feel like that’s a good thing to do.”

The journey to the NBA is a full-time grind and Blackmon Jr. is also looking forward to a little downtime from it while being able to share knowledge from the game with young players.

“This summer I’ve been working for me trying to get to where I want to go and prove what I can,” he said.

“I feel like this is a time to decompress and get back to giving back and just having fun with the game.”

His message to potential campers is simple. 

“Come out and have a good time. Have fun with the game,” he said. “Learn more about the game and have fun with the other kids and compete.” 

For more information or to register for the JBJ Basketball Camp go to: www.jamesblackmonjr.com/camp.