5-Star Guard Prospect Josiah James Commits to Tennessee over Duke, Clemson

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistSeptember 19, 2018

Photo Credit: 247Sports

Josiah James, one of the top-ranked guards in the 2019 college basketball recruiting class, announced Wednesday that he will play for the Tennessee Volunteers.

Evan Daniels of 247Sports reported the update and noted James selected the Vols over the Clemson Tigers and Duke Blue Devils.

The Porter-Gaud School standout is a 5-star prospect and the No. 14 overall player in next year's incoming class, per 247Sports. He's also listed as the third-best combo guard and the top recruit from South Carolina.

James explained his choice in a first-person essay for the Moultrie News and called the process "one of the hardest things I've done."

"I can build a legacy of my own there [with the Vols,]" James wrote. "Not that Tennessee hasn't had great players in the past because they have and they still do right now. But taking a little bit different route than what people probably expected was more for me."

He added: "It really isn't anything against Duke or Clemson. They both were great. Really great. But people always said when you know, you'll know. And I knew. I already knew in my heart so I didn't think it was fair to waste anybody's time. That wouldn't be a cool move on my part."

James also wrote that he's looking forward to facing off with Aaron Nesmith, a Porter-Gaud teammate who joined the Vanderbilt Commodores as part of their 2018 class, in the SEC.

It's a massive addition for Rick Barnes, who's made steady progress over three years at Tennessee, highlighted by a 26-9 record and an NCAA tournament berth last season.

James is the type of prospect who should be ready to make an immediate impact next year. It wouldn't be a surprise to see him step right into the starting lineup with Admiral Schofield, the team's second-leading scorer during the 2017-18 season, set to graduate after the upcoming campaign.

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