Five star point guard Josiah James was a somewhat late addition to the 2019 recruiting board, but things have progressed with the South Carolina prospect in a big way.

At the USA Basketball U-18 Camp in Colorado we had a chance to sit down with James to discuss the latest developments in the recruiting process. As part of that discussion the 6-foot-6 floor general detailed his conversations with various coaches and programs including his developing relationship with Coach K.

In the latest 247Sports.com composite rankings James is considered a top 15 overall prospect and the nation's No. 2 ranked floor general for the class of 2019.


How’s the camp starting out for you?

Josiah James: It’s starting out great, guys started coming in today and it was great to see them because it’s a great group of guys and they are awesome to go out there and compete with them. It got tough as the practice and some of us were getting tired and winded, but the coaches were awesome in helping us get through that.

I was going to ask you how you were adjusting to the altitude….

Yeah I had actually gotten up here a couple of days ago to get adjusted to the altitude, so I was able to get a few workouts in and get used to it, but I know what a lot of the other guys are going through in trying to get adjusted to it because I’m still getting used to it myself, just not as bad as them.

How many times does this make it for you competing with USA Basketball?

This is my second time actually, I was with USA Basketball this year at the Final 4, the Next Generation event. It was a great honor to do that because USA Basketball is very prestigious and it was a great honor to be invited. When I went out there for that I learned a lot and I met a lot of these guys which was great, it’s an awesome group of guys.

What’s does mean to you to have had the year you have had and to have your name out there the way that it is?

Oh man it’s definitely a blessing and a dream come true for me. Wearing USA across my chest, even if it was only in practice, the prestigious group that they pick from me, like I said before, it’s an honor for me to be a part of it. I love the ability to come out here and play with the best of the best in our country and compete for a spot and just play, it’s great.

How are you and your dad handling all the increased attention that’s come your way this past year?

Yes sir, definitely. My dad he loves it, he loves talking with the coaches and taking those phone calls because a lot of those coaches are around his age, he’s been following them for a long time because he’s like a basketball guru. Even before I was born he’s loved the game of basketball and just for us to be able to talk with all these great basketball minds, the coaches, he loves it. For me I love it as well to talk with all these great Hall of Fame coaches that I’ve been talking with, it’s been great to be able to do that. Just getting to know them and me getting to know them, it’s just been awesome.

Who have you been making the effort to build a relationship with coaches-wise?

A lot of schools. They don’t just call my dad, they call me too. I would definitely say I’m building relationships with Virginia with Coach Bennett, South Carolina with Coach Martin and Clemson with Coach Brownell have both been doing a really great job. Florida State’s associate head coach Stan Jones and Coach Hamilton and definitely Duke with Coach K, even though he’s probably one of the best coaches ever and he has a lot going on, he still makes out a lot of time for me, him and Coach Scheyer. Virginia Tech as well.

Did you ever imagine that one day you’d be building a relationship with Coach Krzyzewski?

No, never, never in a million years. It’s awesome.

How so?

It’s surreal. I grew up watching his Duke teams, his USA teams I would stay up late watching his press conferences and things like that to just try and expand my knowledge of basketball. He’s probably one of the best coaches ever and I definitely didn’t see it coming with them being interested, but I’m definitely going to take it and run with it and keep listening to what he has to say, because it definitely makes me want to work even harder.

What has Coach K had to say to you so far that has really stood out?

He just knows…what amazes me with him is he looked at me first as a person and not as a player. He analyzed me as a person and like I said before there’s a lot of good basketball players, every good basketball player isn’t meant for Duke because Duke is its own special thing and he told me he loves how much feel for the game that I have. He was actually, the weekend that he was supposed to see me play his wife was very sick and Coach Scheyer and two other assistants were there and I guess they told him all about me. He loves that I can expand the floor with my shooting range and he loves my feel for the game and my IQ, and he told me he wants me to come in and be a leader and not just on the court but off the court as well and just set an example for everybody.

Has he gotten specific with you on how he sees you fitting in as a player there in terms of position and/or potential roles?

I think it’s being sorted out but I definitely think he sees me as a point guard but I’m definitely more than just that and he pointed out that I could definitely play multiple positions and that’s something I’m working on when I work out. He definitely wants me to come in and be a leader and be a point guard. We haven’t talked about other guys, he told me, he pointed out that I could be like Tyus Jones in the way that he played when they won the championship in 2015, he said that Tyus was the glue for everybody, he was the leader and he held everybody accountable while also doing his own thing.

How do you and your dad feel about your potential situation there now that Duke has offered and they appear to be a serious option for you?

It’s a dream come true for the both of us really. I remember I called him after Duke offered me on the phone and he was ecstatic because we’ve both been working for this day for awhile now. Ever since I knew about college basketball and the opportunity I might have to play in it if I kept getting better. He’s definitely somebody I owe a lot to with my dad because he always held me accountable to keep working out, even when I didn’t want to some days and he’s really shown me the ropes.

It sounds like you have some very strong feelings from what you’ve been saying. Is it hard to stay level headed with the process?

It’s not really that hard because I’m not committing anytime soon. I’m not going to go to Duke because I love the school, I’m not going to bash it or anything about it, but I’m going to go to the school that’s right for me and whether that’s an in state school or out of state school or a really prestigious school like Duke, I’m going to figure out where I’m going to go that’s best for me and that can help me translate my game to the next level and ultimately hopefully become a pro and get better while I’m in college. The name of the school means a lot, but it won’t be the biggest thing in my decision.

How are you sorting through the in-state attention from programs like Clemson and South Carolina?

Definitely playing for either of the two home school programs like that would be awesome and taking the state of South Carolina wherever I go if I played at one of those schools would mean a lot to me. They both have been building good relationships with me for awhile now, so it’s different for me with them than the other schools because I’ve known them for probably two or three years now. I’ve been up to both campuses, I love both schools. Like I said, staying in state is something I think about, but I’m not just going to make a decision based on staying in state. I don’t feel pressure because I know the people that care about me will support me and want what’s best for me, wherever I decide to go.

How are you and your dad sorting through potential visit options for this summer and early fall?

Yes sir I think we’re definitely looking at that. I think we might start taking some visits after this camp once we see whether I make this team or not. Then after July I’ll get the unofficial and official visits rolling because I still have all five available official visits to take. Once school gets started I’ll start looking at doing my officials, but if I don’t make this team I’ll definitely do some unofficials this summer.

Which programs are you looking at for the next visits once you take them?

The schools I mentioned earlier are definitely in that, the ones that are in contact with me a lot like Virginia, Florida State, Duke, Michigan State and Ohio State too and Virginia Tech.

With the official visits, are you 100% for sure you want to take all five?

Definitely I want to take all five of my official visits. I talked with a teammate of mine Aaron Beasley that was a highly rated recruit and he had the same thing, but I think if I find the place that’s right for me I’ll probably shut it down, and whether it’s after the 1st visit or the 5th visit, it doesn’t really matter to me. But for now I plan on taking all 5 official visits.

Do you think it’s going to matter to you who gets the first official visit or the second or the third and so on and so forth?

No, I don’t think that will matter at all to me.

Are you building any relationships with guys in your class or talking about playing together with them in college?

Definitely, I met a lot of these guys in San Antonio and that was my first opportunity to meet them because I don’t play on the Nike, Adidas or Under Armour circuits, so we’ll play against them sometimes when it’s not a player, but I got a lot of their numbers in San Antonio and we kept up and we’re building great relationships definitely with Scottie (Lewis), Bryan (Antoine), Joey (Baker), he’s been trying to get me over to Duke, Jalen (Lecque), Tyrese (Maxey), Armando (Bacot) was my roommate in San Antonio, they are all a great group of guys. I know wherever I go I’m going to have to fight for my spot and nothing will be handed to me, but It’ll definitely be cool to go in as a freshman with people I know, but that’s not heavy on my mind.