The state’s top basketball prospect in the 2019 class will consider Clemson among his final four schools but not USC. 6-6 Josiah James of Porter Gaud told Frankie Mansfield of The Moultrie News he will take official visits to Clemson, Duke, Michigan State and Tennessee. USC was on James’ list of nine before he cut it to four. Also cut were Kansas, Virginia, Arizona and Florida State.
James told Mansfield he will visit Clemson, Tennessee and Duke, in that order, in September, then Michigan State, his father’s alma-mater, in October. He plans to sign in November.
“It’s a great list of schools to go and visit and try to get to know before he makes his decision, no question,” said Porter Gaud coach John Pearson. “I mean, I’m happy for him. He had several schools to choose from that all would have been very good for him. To narrow it, I know that takes a little bit of pressure off of him to be able to narrow his focus.”
James had a logical reason for picking each of the finalists. Tennessee was one one of his first offers going back to his ninth grade. His father played at Michigan State in the early 80’s. Duke is Duke. And Clemson give him the home state connection.
“They (Clemson) able to forge a good enough relationship,” Pearson said. “It was a process. Clemson was in there and did a great job and I think it has intrigued Josiah to the point that he’s going to make an official visit.”
USC also recruited James hard, and even has a commitment from his close friend and AAU teammate Trae Hannibal. But all of that was not enough to help the Gamecocks get an official visit.
“Surprise, I was surprised,” Pearson said. “I thought that Carolina did a great job of getting to know Josiah and the family. I don’t know what it came down to, and that’s fine. It’s a process Josiah and his family have to go through and they have to take the phone calls and they have to make that decision.”
Duke already is heavy on James’ mind as he’s coming off an unofficial visit there last weekend with his family and coach.
“He had a good time, everybody did,” Pearson said. “We drove up there and visited with the coaching staff, watched a little basketball. I felt like Duke did a fantastic job. He (Mike Krzyzewski) gave him a lot of attention, he really did. Coach K talked to the family for a good while. He was impressive, he really was.”
James further enhanced his national reputation this summer playing for the gold medal winning USA national team in the FIBA Americas U18 tournament in Canada where he averaged 5 points and 6 rebounds per game. In his career at Porter Gaud, he has scored over 1600 points.