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Top 50 2014 guard James Blackmon Jr. commits to Indiana

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After being committed to attend Indiana since 2010, 2014 shooting guard James Blackmon Jr. reopened his recruitment in August, and once that happened things ramped up in a big way for the Marion, Ind. native. But on Thursday night the Top 50 prospect announced his decision on national television to re-commit to Indiana, becoming the program’s third verbal commitment in the class.

Also considered by Blackmon were Kentucky, Michigan and Michigan State (he officially visited those schools), while Kansas was mentioned during the ceremony but did not receive a visit from the 6-foot-4 guard. Blackmon joins fellow shooting guard Robert Johnson and forward Max Hoetzel in Indiana’s 2014 recruiting haul.

With Arizona State transfer Evan Gordon and Will Sheehey both being seniors, Blackmon and Johnson will help Indiana head coach Tom Crean bolster his perimeter rotation in 2014. Indiana already has plenty of young talent on the perimeter, led by sophomore point guard Yogi Ferrell, and other players expected to compete for playing time this year include freshmen Devin Davis, Stanford Robinson and Troy Williams.

Prior to this season Blackmon played at Bishop Luers HS in Fort Wayne, Ind for his father, James Blackmon Sr. (who played his college basketball at Kentucky), and as a junior he averaged 33.3 points and 7.9 rebounds per game. Blackmon Jr. will finish his high school career at Marion, where his father is the new head coach.

In Blackmon Jr. Indiana gets a talented shooter/scorer, and below are some clips of him in action.

Marcus Paige, Joel Berry lead No. 9 North Carolina past No. 2 Maryland

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — He’s back.

For the first time this season — and for the first time in more than a year that he hasn’t been hampered with some kind of foot or ankle injury — Marcus Paige donned a North Carolina jersey, and it didn’t take him long to find the form that made him the NBCSports.com Preseason National Player of the Year.

On the first Tar Heel possession, Paige came off of a ball-screen, drove the lane and found Kennedy Meeks at the rim for a layup. Not 30 seconds later, he came off of a down screen and buried a three. Paige would finish with 20 points and five assists as No. 9 North Carolina put together a fairly resounding win over No. 2 Maryland in the Dean Dome on Tuesday night, winning 89-81.

Paige finished 7-for-12 from the floor and 4-for-5 from beyond the arc, hitting a number of threes in the second half that helped hold off a Maryland push sparked by their own all-american point guard, Melo Trimble.

Trimble was erratic early on, committing three turnovers in the first six minutes and eight on the night, but it was his play at the end of the first half and early second half that kept North Carolina from blowing their doors. At one point, Maryland was down 32-19 and in danger of getting run out of Tobacco Road.

In total, Trimble finished with 23 points and 12 assists, hitting four big threes during that stretch. He either scored or assisted on 11 of Maryland’s first 12 second half field goals.

As good as Paige was, the bigger story may actually be Joel Berry II. He took two dumb threes in the first half — which played a role in Maryland being able to make this a game — and he missed a few free throws late, but overall he was terrific. He finished with 14 points and five assists, making 3-of-5 threes and turning the ball over just twice. He’s clearly beat Nate Britt out at the point guard spot, and his ability to take pressure off of Paige as a secondary ball-handler and playmaker is huge.

(More to come from Chapel Hill…)

VIDEO: Melo Trimble drops Nate Britt with a crossover

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North Carolina is hosting No. 2 Maryland in a heated contest in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Terps sophomore guard Melo Trimble is playing very well and part of his performance was dropping North Carolina’s Nate Britt with a crossover in the second half.

(H/T: The Cauldron)