Photo Credit: US Presswire

UNC Basketball 2012 Recruiting Class Closer Look: C Joel James

Center Joel James will likely have a big role on the 2012 North Carolina Tar Heels as a freshman.  With the departures of Tyler Zeller and John Henson, James is in prime position to take the vacant starting spot next to sophomore James Michael McAdoo.  UNC did not bring in any other post players after flirting with Nerlens Noel and Alex Oriakhi.  James and fellow freshman Brice Johnson will now have a much larger role than what was expected when they were originally recruited.

James has made significant improvements over the last year and both his game and his physic look completely different.  James looked more like Robert “Tractor” Taylor as a junior in high school than a player ready to run the floor with the Tar Heels.  After shedding some 50 pounds later, James looks ready to handle the physical demands of playing Carolinas style.

We recently had an interview with James HERE here is excerpt:

“Durring the season I incorporated a lot of running in my workouts, some weightlifting, but mostly running. A lot of sprints, a lot of mile runs. In that process I lost a lot of weight and now I’m working to just put it back on, in a good way”, said James.

James is a big time rebounder and is great at dominating his space in the paint.  A terrific finisher who’s offensive game was extremely raw heading into his senior season.  His offensive improvement has been impressive, James who has very good hands has developed a respectable post up game and added a decent mid range jump shot.

His offensive game has a ways to go before he can make a big impact at the collegiate level.  The weight loss will allow him to run the floor the way Roy Williams demands of his big men.  Compared to fellow freshman Brice Johnson, James looks more college ready now.  Johnson is the polar opposite of James in that he resembles John Henson when he arrived a Chapel Hill.  A very long, skinny player with an extremely raw offensive game.  Johnson is the higher rated prospect by most scouting companies and is viewed as having a higher ceiling.  James however, passes the eye test now and has a great opportunity to be a major contributor in 2012.

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  • unc2015

    I feel Brice will start with JMM.  He is more polished.  James has only been playing ball for a little over 3 years.  It may even be Hubert starting with JMM even if Hubert only gets 5-10 mins. 
    But I just don’t think James is ready. JMHO
    *One thing is for sure….JMM and Buckets (Bullock) will start.   The other spots are open.
    It’s going to be interesting.

    • KIH Matt

      I agree Brice might be the better player.  But he’s way too skinny to bang inside right now

  • uncfan

    All I can say is this is going 2 be a very fast tarheel team. MaCadoo, paige, Mr. Nasty- JP, Johnson, Bullock. Hairston and Joel, will need 2 work on there stamina and speed! And Joel will need 2 stay out of foul trouble period!

    • KIH Matt

      absolutely, this should be an exciting team 2 watch

  • uncfan

    What I like most right now about James, is his ability 2 create his on shot close 2 the rim. I like the kids hustle as well… all he needs 2 do in my opinion is trim down a little. Then I 4see this young man with some Sean May skill sets.