Vols’ 5-Star Signee Listed as Early 2020 NBA Draft Prospect

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    (Photo via Tennessee Athletics)

    The 2019 NBA Draft was just completed not even a week ago, but Sports Illustrated has already formed their “almost-too-early” big board for the 2020 draft. And one of the names on their list is one of the newest additions to Tennessee’s roster.

    The 2020 NBA Draft is still a year away from starting, but the writers and analysts over at Sports Illustrated have gone ahead and formed their early list of the top 30 draft prospects for next year’s draft. While Tennessee’s pair of senior guards — Lamonte Turner and Jordan Bowden — aren’t on the list, one of UT’s highly-touted additions this offseason did make it on the board.

    Josiah Jordan-James is a five-star guard who signed with Tennessee during the fall signing period in 2018. He’s officially on campus now and practicing with UT’s team. Jordan-James is the Vols’ highest-rated signee since five-star Robert Hubbs signed in 2013, and he’s already getting a lot of love from basketball analysts.

    In fact, Sports Illustrated views him as a top-20 prospect for next year’s NBA Draft.

    Jordan-James has yet to play a minute of collegiate basketball, but his play in high school and his vast potential is enough to warrant him being placed at No. 19 on Sports Illustrated’s top-30 big board for the 2020 NBA Draft.

    “James is an big ball-handler and all-around contributor with obvious pro potential,” writes Sports Illustrated’s Jeremy Woo. “He may have already maxed out a bit physically, and the next step will be harnessing those tools better on both ends. His size, strength and passing feel are all impressive, but he’s not a terrific outside shooter, and his overall consistency levels can improve. James is a grab-and-go threat who thrives facilitating transition play. He’ll be pushed more skill-wise playing in the SEC, and if he does take a big step forward, the lottery should be within reach. Tennessee will need a lot from him.”

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    With Jordan Bone declaring early for the NBA Draft and being selected No. 57 overall in the second round, Tennessee has a vacancy at point guard heading into the 2019-20 season. Senior Lamonte Turner will likely get some ball-handling duties, but Jordan-James is the early favorite to be the primary ball handler for the Vols this season.

    The five-star signee was named the 2019 Gatorade Player of the Year in the state of South Carolina and was an honorable mention on the Naismith High School Boys’ All-America Team as a senior. He averaged 29.1 points, 12.4 rebounds, 5.3 blocks, and 4.9 assists per game for Porter-Gaud High School as a senior. He was also a member of the US team that won gold at the 2018 FIBA Americas U18 Championship, averaging 5.3 points and 6.0 rebounds and had 11 assists to just four turnovers in 16.2 minutes per game.

    At 6-foot-6, 200 pounds, Jordan-James can play a variety of positions and can guard multiple positions as well. He figures to earn a lot of minutes on the court in his first season with the Vols, and he has the talent to be a potential one-and-done player.

    If Jordan-James has the type of season he’s capable of, then he may hear his name called this time next year in the 2020 NBA Draft.



    Nathanael Rutherford
    Nathanael Rutherford is the managing editor and social media manager for Rocky Top Insider. Nathanael graduated from the University of Tennessee and cultivated a passion for the Vols while growing up in Knoxville a mere 10 minutes from Neyland Stadium. He's been a part of the RTI team since November of 2015 and has been the editor of RTI since June of 2017. If he's not talking or writing about Tennessee athletics, he's probably talking about Star Wars.