WATCH: Barnes Reacts to Josiah-Jordan James’ All-SEC Defensive Snub

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    After the SEC year-end awards came out on Tuesday, there was one player that was noticeably missing from any list. Tennessee’s jack-of-all-trades, Josiah-Jordan James, was not put on the All-SEC defensive team after being Tennessee’s best primary defender all season.

    Tennessee guard Santiago Vescovi was selected on the All-SEC First Team, while freshman guard Kennedy Chandler landed on the All-SEC Second Team and Freshman Team. Meanwhile, Chandler’s fellow freshman Zakai Zeigler was a selection to the All-SEC Freshman Team and the All-SEC Defensive Team. But, again, no sign of Josiah-Jordan James on any list.

    There are eight players selected to the All-SEC First Team, Second Team, and Freshman Team lists, but only five players are selected to each year’s All-SEC defensive team.

    “I think it does matter in the grand scheme of things,” Barnes said on Wednesday about James not being on the conference defensive team. “But I think the league is going to have to redo what we do. I mean, I think they pick eight players and with as many teams in the league, I think we should be doing the same thing on the all-defensive team. Oftentimes coaches look at the numbers, and I get that part of it too, but the best defensive guy on our team is Josiah James because of the fact that he guards every position on the floor. But I think the league is going to have to change that because it’s hard to pick five guys in this league when it’s as good as it is because we know there are more than five good defenders in the league. We’re going to pick eight first-team players, we should be doing the same for the all-defensive team.”

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    Currently, while none of the positions are incredibly high, Josiah-Jordan James does rank in the SEC’s Top 20 in steals, rebounds, and blocks. Pretty impressive for a positionless player. James currently ranks No. 18 in rebounds (157), No. 12 in blocks (28), and No. 17 in steals (42).

    While it’s hard to necessarily prove the point via the statistics, take it from Barnes himself.

    “Josiah James is the best defensive player on our team because of the fact that he guards every position on the floor.”

    James’ value is almost impossible to understate because of his natural ability to do multiple different things on the court. And when the game is about doing whatever it takes to win, Josiah-Jordan James is the type of player that you want to have on your team instead of the other. A tough, resilient, grind-it-out type of player.

    The 2021-2022 All-SEC Defensive Team is as follows:

    • Keon Ellis, Alabama
    • Jaylin Williams, Arkansas
    • Walker Kessler, Auburn
    • Oscar Tshiebwe, Kentucky
    • Zakai Zeigler, Tennessee

    Barnes’ full press conference from Wednesday afternoon in Knoxville can be found below.

    Tennessee HC Rick Barnes – Pre SEC Tournament

    Ric Butler is a Knoxville based sports media personality who has covered University of Tennessee athletics since 2017. Most recently, he served as the lead writer for the website of a local radio station. Ric also helped create and host a daily radio show called “The Blitz." Ric’s passion for sports, smooth vocal, and infectious personality have made him popular with both his peers and Vol Nation. Originally from Dallas, Ric didn’t grow up riding horses to school. But he did dream of the big city lights. When not chasing down the latest Tennessee story, Ric can be found watching the WWE, often attempting their moves in an embarrassing fashion.