WATCH: Allan Houston Presents Josiah Jordan James Leadership Award

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    Photo via VFL Films

    Tennessee basketball is under two weeks away from its season opener against UT-Martin. Tennessee legend and all-time leading scorer Allan Houston was back on campus this week to spend time with the 2021-22 team.

    While  with the team, Houston bestowed the Wade Houston Leadership Award on Tennessee junior Josiah Jordan James.

    Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes created the award three years ago to honor the Wade Houston— Allan’s dad and the first ever African-American head coach in SEC history.

    James has been a clear leader for Tennessee since the end of the 2020-21 season, saying its the area he’s grown the most this offseason.

    “I’d say my leadership,” James said. “Just holding myself to the highest standard possible. Holding myself accountable each and every day. Holding others accountable. Just being able to be somebody that coach can count on, that coach— none of the coaches— have to do each and everything. That we are a team led unit with coaches just in the background. I think my leadership, as well as others, has stepped up.”

    Tennessee’s coaching staff has been thrilled with its veteran leadership on a team with eight newcomers, but James has stood above the rest of the group.

    “I think that’s one of the strongest parts of our team right now,” assistant coach Rod Clark said. “Josiah, Fulk(erson), Santi(ago), V.J.,  they’ve been great. Uros at time, they’ve been great with the leadership and just showing us a veteran leadership. Josiah was incredible through the summer and I felt like he went through a small moment earlier this year where his leadership wasn’t the greatest because he was trying to figure out coming back off of an injury, trying to get himself back into a flow and shape. I remember going to talking to him and saying ‘your leadership was incredible this summer. We need it to be at that level again.’ From that moment he got right back on it and he’s been great again.”

    Past winners of the award include Yves Pons and Admiral Schofield.

    In the video, Houston discusses his appreciation for Barnes creating the award and his affinity for Tennessee’s programs culture.

    “Every time I think about Tennessee, you know what I think about?” Houston said. “INAM (it’s not about me). That’s what I think about. Literally anytime I think about watching you guys because I saw it up on the wall and you show it to each other. Just continue to be selfless.”

    You can watch the full video below.

    Ryan Schumpert is a senior at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville who has covered University of Tennessee athletics since the moment he stepped on campus. He just completed a three-year stint with the Daily Beacon, the last two of which as the Sports Editor. Ryan also spent last three years at Volquest providing strong Tennessee baseball coverage of Tony Vitello's resurgent program. While the bulk of Ryan's responsibilities involved beat coverage and writing, he also recorded podcasts for both the Beacon and Volquest. Did we leave out the part about Ryan interning for the Smokies? Ryan's work ethic, versatility, and strong writing skills are but three of the reasons why Vol Nation will be hearing from Ryan for years to come.