By Jeff Borzello
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Despite standing 6-foot-10 and hovering around the 300-pound mark, Joell James knows he won’t dominate against other big-time players on size alone.
“I have to hustle,” James said. “You can have no talent, and still be a better player than someone else just by hustling.”
James, a rising senior from Dwyer High School (Fla.), certainly has talent. For someone so big, he runs the floor and moves around without the ball effectively. James can face-up and knock down shots inside the arc, and he is also adept at scoring around the rim. Because of his size, he is a presence defensively and on the glass.
Rising up the rankings in the spring, James went to the NBPA Top 100 Camp to prove he wasn’t all hype.
“It’s not about your name, it’s about what you do out there,” he said. “I need to show I can do it.”
Because of his stellar play over the last few months, James has been hearing from Florida, Florida State, West Virginia, Ohio State, North Carolina, Maryland, Louisville and Miami the most.
He said Florida, Florida State, West Virginia, Ohio State and North Carolina are standing out to him as a top five, with the Gators currently on top.
“It’s a state school, and coach [Billy] Donovan is a great guy,” James said. “It’s a great program, and they’re known for putting out big men.”
The Floridian has taken trips to in-state schools Florida, Miami (Fla.) and UCF in the past.
A decision does not appear to be on the horizon for James, although he does have more immediate goals for the summer.
“I’m too heavy, I want to lose about 20 pounds,” he said. “And I just want to improve.”
Photo: Pack Pride