Josiah-Jordan James Confirms Decision Regarding Future Status

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    Tennessee guard/forward Josiah-Jordan James began testing the NBA waters this spring back in April. Despite declaring for the NBA Draft though, James still had the option to return to Tennessee for his final year of collegiate eligibility.

    On Saturday afternoon, CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein first reported that Josiah-Jordan James would be returning to Tennessee next season. And on Sunday morning, James confirmed the announcement with a post on social media.

    “Another year to play in front of the coolest fan base in the [world],” James tweeted. “Let’s make this one to remember.”

    Vol Hoops: Josiah-Jordan James is the Team Leader That You Want

    James became eligible for the NBA Draft following Kennedy Chandler and Santiago Vescovi’s decisions to do the same thing. Although, there was one big difference between the three. Unlike James and Vescovi, Chandler hired an NBA agent, thus making him ineligible to return to school.

    Santiago Vescovi has not made an announcement yet regarding a return to school, but if he is, that announcement will be coming soon. The deadline to withdraw one’s name from the NBA pool is coming up on June 1.

    James’ decision to go through the NBA Draft evaluation process did not come as a surprise to head coach Rick Barnes and the Tennessee program. In fact, it is actually something that Barnes felt was a productive step.

    “Yes, I think it is good for him, I do,” Barnes said about James in his end-of-the-year press conference. “He will do that. [Josiah] is a very methodical and well-thought-out person. He will do it based on how he feels and when he decides when he is going to announce, whether he is going to do it or not.”

    The 6-foot-6 wing player averaged 10.3 points and six rebounds per game last year for Tennessee. By the end of the season, James had established himself as one of Tennessee’s most valuable offensive players due to his high intelligence and versatility.

    James’ return to Tennessee next season gives the Vols a huge boost when also adding in the off-season additions. After a productive spring on the recruiting trail, Tennessee will be bringing in four talented players: Five-star SF Julian Phillips, four-star PG BJ Edwards, four-star SF DJ Jefferson, and Indiana State graduate transfer PG Tyreke Key.

    Josiah-Jordan James has been with the Tennessee program for three seasons to date. In addition, James is ninth on Tennessee’s All-Time Defensive Rebounds Leaders list with 381 defensive rebounds. In 32 games last season, James came away with 149 defensive rebounds. If James were to grab 149 defensive rebounds again in 2022, it would give him a total of 530 career defensive boards, which would be good for third place on Tennessee’s all-time list. James would be right behind former Tennessee superstar Admiral Schofield, who ended his Tennessee career with 536.

    James would need 248 defensive rebounds this season to pass Wayne Chism (628) for Tennessee’s all-time leading ranking.

    The Charleston, South Carolina native is also sitting as Tennessee’s all-time leader in defensive box plus/minus at 4.5. For some perspective, NBAStuffer’s analytics defines defensive box plus/minus as a “metric that measures the difference per 100 possessions in points allowed with a player on the court versus off the court.”

    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.