Porter-Gaud basketball standout K.J. James admits he wants to follow in his father’s footsteps and play college basketball at Michigan State.
His father, Kurt James, was considered one of the top high school players in Michigan his senior year and played for Michigan State in the early 1980s.
“I went up there a couple of years ago, toured the campus, practiced a little in the facility and met the coaches,” James said. “I hear stories about Michigan State all the time from my dad. It’s pretty neat.”
James, who was born in New York and moved to the Lowcountry 11 years ago, seems to have the talent and the shoes to follow his dad’s path. He’s 6-5½, weighs 215 pounds and wears a size 17 basketball shoe. His coach, John Pearson, thinks James could still grow two or three more inches.
“He has a high ceiling for improvement,” Pearson said. “He could grow a couple more inches, which would make a huge difference in his recruitment. He’s right on target with his development. He’s going to leave here as one of the top players we’ve ever had.”
James, a junior, is averaging 19.3 points and 8.8 rebounds a game for the top-ranked SCISA Class AAA Cyclones, who enter tonight’s game against Northwood Academy with an eight-game winning streak and a 16-3 record.
Michigan State isn’t the only school in the recruiting picture. James says he will consider any school that shows interest in him. “It’s too early to close the door on any school,” he said.
Some of the other schools that have been in contact include Cincinnati, College of Charleston, Clemson, Georgia, VCU, Wake Forest and App State. The list continues to grow every day.
Deciding on a college might be as hard as finding a pair of size 17 sneakers.
“It was very difficult to find shoes after I reached size 15,” James said. “But I learned how to order online, and now it’s pretty easy. You just have to be patient until they arrive.”
College isn’t James’ top priority right now. He and the Cyclones are setting their sights on a state championship. Porter-Gaud hasn’t won a state title since 2005, when they won their third straight.
“Winning a state championship is very important to me,” James said. “It’s the team’s No. 1 priority. All the individual stuff takes a back seat. We want to get back to the state championship and bring back the trophy.”
Follow Philip M. Bowman on Twitter: @pandcphil