Rick Barnes has a new contract, Tennessee basketball has a new locker room and now the Vols have a 5-star recruit.
The 6-foot-6, 198-pound guard picks the Vols over Duke and Clemson. He also had offers from Arizona, Kansas, Louisville and Michigan State, where his father played in the 1980s.
The Charleston, S.C., Porter-Gaud School guard is the third commitment in the 2019 class for UT, joining forwards Davonte Gaines (New York) and Drew Pember (Bearden).
James took an official visit to Tennessee on Sept. 7. Days before the visit, UT announced a contract extension for Barnes to make him one of the nation’s highest-paid coaches. The Vols also debuted their new, renovated locker rooms at Thompson-Boling Arena during James’ visit.
The Vols recruited James for more than four years. They were the first major program to offer James a scholarship, which they did before he played a game at the high school level.
James eclipsed freshman forward D.J. Burns as the highest-rated signee for Barnes at UT. The Rock Hill (S.C.) product was ranked the No. 103 player in the nation, according to the 247Sports Composite.
He is the third-highest-rated commitment of all-time at Tennessee, per the 247Sports rating of all-time recruits. Only Tobias Harris and Scotty Hopson were ranked higher.
Tennessee graduates center Kyle Alexander and forward Admiral Schofield after the 2018-19 season. The Vols have an open scholarship remaining this season.