Elite teams continue to chase five-star Josiah James
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Josiah James has shown tremendous strides during his high school career as he earned his way to the United States under-18 trials this weekend. A 6-foot-6 point guard that can check many of the boxes, James recapped his spring, went in-depth on the schools in the mix, and gave a timeline that would lead to his college commitment.
“It has been going awesome. We had a good spring and great live periods,” he said about the beginning to his senior summer. “Just to get out here and compete against these great players and to play for the USA under-18 team, it has really been awesome. It has been a great experience as well. It's just a testament to my work ethic and I know that this is just a stepping stone but it is a big honor, it means a lot and it just makes me want to work harder in the future.”
IN HIS OWN WORDS
South Carolina: “I love them. Their commitment with Trae (Hannibal), that is big, because he is on my travel team, he is a great teammate, and an even better person. I think that we fit very well together. I definitely could see us playing together at the college level. For South Carolina, I love everything that they are about and the whole coaching staff including coach (Frank) Martin, they are all great.”
Duke: “Even when I was growing up, they were always this dream school of mine. I guess that you could say, watching them every year in the NCAA Tournament, and with Cameron Indoor Stadium, it just looks like a great place to play. Coach K (Mike Krzyzewski) is a hall of fame coach and one of the greatest coaches ever. It means a lot that they have reached out to me and offered me. Their message is simple; they want for me to come in and be a leader, be a point guard but also a versatile player, and just bring my leader mentality in keeping everything intact and being the on-floor coach for coach K.”
Michigan State: “Coach (Tom) Izzo and coach (Mike) Garland, they have been down to see me at my school a few times. They are great and the best of friends. Coach Izzo, everybody thinks he is this and that and crazy, but really, he is a good guy that knows what he is talking about. He is one of the great coaches, as well, and I know that it would be a blessing to play for him and I am just thankful for the opportunity there.”
Virginia: “It is a great school. I am definitely looking forward to getting up there, whether it be in August or after this camp in the summer to meet all of the coaching staff. Coach (Tony) Bennett is another hall of fame coach that knows what he is doing. I love everything that he is about, not only as a coach but also as a person.”
Clemson: “They want for me to come in and be a leader. They want me to run the show and lead the ballclub and just be the on-floor coach for coach (Brad) Brownell and the whole coaching staff. That is one school that wants to put the ball in my hands. I am definitely going to have to work for my spot but I think once I work for that spot, I believe I could play a lot of minutes for them.”
Virginia Tech: “He (Buzz Williams) is awesome and definitely different in many ways and not in a bad way whatsoever. He keeps it honest with you and that is something I am definitely looking forward to in a coach, somebody that isn’t going to tell me what I want to hear but someone who is going to tell me what I need to work on day in and day out so that I can be a better player. He definitely keeps it real with me and I definitely like that with them.”
James will remain in the hunt for one of the final 12 spots on the United States under-18 team this weekend before completing his senior summer with the Team TMP 17-under unit.
When it comes to his recruitment, he is far from a commitment.
“I am still wide open. I don’t plan on making a decision any time soon. I have enjoyed talking to all of the coaches and the whole process. I have already narrowed it down in private and telling some coaches that I won’t be going to their schools. I don’t know if I will publish a top-five or a top-seven, or anything like that, but I have about 12 schools that I like,” he said. “I am going to take some unofficial visits after this camp and all of the way into the school year. I will start my official visits whenever my school year starts. I am going to try and visit all of the 12 schools, at least try to get to them all. I want to commit and sign early but if it doesn’t work out that way, it won’t be the end of the world but it is definitely something that I would like to do.”
James is the definition of a versatile prospect that can complete a multitude of tasks on the playing floor. Standing over 6-foot-6 and with a college ready frame, schools have come to prioritize James for his mature approach, playmaking skills and ability to defend multiple positions.
A commitment does not look to be in the cards any time soon as James remains patient with the 12 schools that he has kept in mind. Many believed that Duke took the pole position after offering earlier this spring but with his father having played at Michigan State, the best of the ACC and SEC in contention, and a long, thought-out process, it remains anyone’s ballgame for the five-star’s pledge.