Josiah James is from South Carolina. He grew up in the state and the five-star guard and has seen the state’s basketball reputation skyrocket in recent history because of Zion Williamson.
James called Williamson a basketball “mogul” and said he and the rest of the 2019 class are ready to continue that legacy this year and continue to build the Palmetto State’s perception as a basketball state.
“He’s done so much for this state,” James said. “If I can do half of what he’s done, I’ll be happy.”
The state of South Carolina is home to six Rivals top 150 players in the 2019 class, including four in the top 80.
James (No. 18) is the headliner of that class followed by Christian Brown (23), Juwan Gary (56), DJ Burns (80), Duce Dean (121) and Malcolm Wilson (144).
Of those, three are within 30 minutes of Colonial Life Arena, and Dean played at Dutch Fork in Irmo before transferring to York Prep in Rock Hill.
South Carolina has six Top150 prospects and only seven states in the country have more.
“We have a really deep class,” James said. “I think if you put our top five or top seven and played against all the other states, I think we can make a run as the best class.”
That talent was on full display recently with James and Gary both going to San Antonio for the Final Four’s next generation outing.
There he was able to experience the Final Four as well as compete against some of the best talent in the country. He and Gary were two of just 24 rising seniors to participate, and both left with a better understanding of what it takes to succeed at the next level.
“It was an eye-opener. I played very well but I wanted to get back to school the next week and just work 10 times harder,” James said. “I’ve built great relationships with all the guys up there. They’re great kids, a great group of kids.”
Now the state’s premier prospects, which includes Trae Hannibal who hasn’t been rated yet by Rivals but is receiving South Carolina interest, will be showcasing the South Carolina talent on the summer circuit.
James and Hannibal are really close and talk every now and again. James and a lot of the members of that 2019 class talk regularly. James and Hannibal are set to play each other again this Friday in Spartanburg in round three of a friendly rivalry.
“I played against him and I heard about him. I had to go at him. I won that battle. He got me back this year because we played them at Porter Gaud,” Hannibal said. “Me and him are really close. We chat every now and again.”