Josiah-Jordan James to go through NBA Draft process

Josiah-Jordan James to go through NBA Draft process

Josiah Jordan James is officially going through the NBA Draft process while maintaining his collegiate eligibility.

The all-everything junior wing’s name was on the list of college prospects on the NBA’s list of early entry candidates, alongside Kennedy Chandler and Santiago Vescovi.

James was third in scoring for the Vols this season, at 10.3 points per game, while leading the team in rebounds (191) and blocks (34). He was third in minutes (29.1) and fourth in assists (55) steals (46).

He started 30 times in 32 games this season, shooting 38.8 percent from the field and 32.2 percent from the 3-point line. His 56 3-pointers made were second most on the team, trailing only Vescovi.

Vescovi announced on March 26 that he would be going through the NBA Draft process while also maintaining his eligibility.

“Thank you to everyone who supported our team this season,” Vescovi wrote. “This year’s team was very special, and playing alongside this group of teammates made my love for the game grow even stronger.

“Coach Barnes has encouraged me to go through the NBA Draft evaluation process, and I intend to take advantage of that opportunity while maintaining my collegiate eligibility. I know have the full support of Vol Nation, and I look forward to the valuable experience and feedback I’ll receive in the weeks to come.”

College basketball players can go through the workout and evaluation process leading up to the NBA Draft, and can even hire NCAA-approved agents, while maintaining their collegiate eligibility.

Admiral Schofield went through the process following the 2017-18 season, before deciding to return for his senior year. Grant Williams and Jordan Bone went through the process a year later, with both deciding to enter the NBA Draft.

James recorded career highs in points, 3-point percentage, blocks and steals during his junior season.

He scored in double-figures in 13 of the final 16 games of the season — he scored 10 or more in each of the last eight games — making 32 of his 56 3-pointers during the 16-game stretch. He scored a career-high 23 points against Georgia after going for 20 at South Carolina.

James averaged 8.0 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.4 steals as a sophomore in 2020-21, after averaging 7.4 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists as a freshman two years ago.

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Vescovi and James will be the biggest and most important pieces for the Vols next season, should they choose to return.

Vescovi had a breakout season, finishing second for Tennessee in scoring, at 13.3 minutes per game, while leading the Vols in minutes, at 31.2 per game, the only player on roster to start all 35 games this season.

He shot 41.3 percent from the field and 40.3 percent from the 3-point line, where he went 102-for-253. Vescovi is only the second Tennessee player in program history to hit 100 or more threes in a single season, joining Chris Loftonwho did so three times.

Vescovi scored in double-figures 28 times in his 25 games, going for 20 or more four times. He made at least three 3-point shots in 24 games.

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