Forward Josiah-Jordan James is returning to Tennessee for his super senior season, the wing announced on Twitter Wednesday afternoon.
One more year🙏🏾🧡 pic.twitter.com/F1moV55WI2
— Josiah-Jordan James (@jjjames30) May 31, 2023
James announces his decision on the deadline for college basketball players to remove their name from the NBA Draft and retain collegiate eligibility. The Charleston, South Carolina native previously declared for the NBA Draft but has one year of eligibility remaining due to NCAA COVID-19 relief.
The 6-foot-6 wing has been a key part of Tennessee’s program over the last four years and averaged 10 points and 4.7 rebounds a season ago while missing 12 games with both a knee (eight) and ankle (four) injury.
James return is a surprise given Tennessee added a pair of transfer wings, Northern Colorado’s Dalton Knecht and Harvard’s Chris Ledlum, earlier this offseason.
“I’m excited and blessed to be able to represent Tennessee for one more year,” James said in a statement. “After last season, I talked with the coaching staff about how important it was for me to go through the draft evaluation process and get NBA feedback, since I wasn’t able to do that last offseason.
“I also knew that the coaches here had to build a full roster for this year and prepare for the possibility that I might not be back. I love the pieces they’ve put together, and I’m eager to join this new group of teammates for one more run.”
Including James, Tennessee now has 14 players on scholarship for the 2023-24 season, one over the 13-player limit. How the Vols will address this is to be seen but there’s a handful of possible options. James could be a walk-on for his final season or a player could transfer away from the Tennessee program.
The window for players to enter the transfer portal and be immediately eligible for the upcoming season has past but Tennessee could help any outgoing player receive a waiver to gain instant eligibility at its new school.
Tennessee could push one of its incoming high school signings to do a prep season somewhere. That practice isn’t uncommon in college basketball but it hasn’t happened any at Tennessee since Rick Barnes become head coach. With freshman set to enroll in summer classes in coming weeks, Tennessee would have to move quickly if this is the path forward they choose.
James has played over 25 minutes a game for Tennessee each of the last four seasons and has been a Swiss army knife for the Vol with his defensive versatility and ability to rebound at a high rate. Offensive consistency has always been the question for James as the 6-foot-6 wing struggles to score at the basket and has had varying stretches of success with his jump shot.
Before James announced he was returning to Tennessee for another season most experts pegged the Vols for a top 15 team next season.