James Set to Rejoin Vols for Fifth Year

James Set to Rejoin Vols for Fifth Year

Josiah-Jordan James, a leader and steadying force within the Tennessee basketball program since 2019, has announced plans to return to Rocky Top for a fifth season.

He becomes Tennessee’s second four-year senior to opt for a fifth season of eligibility in 2023-24, joining teammate Santiago Vescovi.

James recently went through the NBA Draft evaluation process, which included participation in the NBA G League Combine as well as individual workouts with multiple NBA teams.

“I’m excited and blessed to be able to represent Tennessee for one more year,” James said. “After last season, I talked with the coaching staff about how important it was for me to go through the draft evaluation process and get NBA feedback, since I wasn’t able to do that last offseason.

“I also knew that the coaches here had to build a full roster for this year and prepare for the possibility that I might not be back. I love the pieces they’ve put together, and I’m eager to join this new group of teammates for one more run.”

James appeared in only 24 games last season while battling injuries but finished as the team’s fourth-leading scorer (10.0 ppg) and third-leading rebounder (4.7 rpg).

His return adds even more postseason and championship experience to next year’s squad. James helped lead UT to the 2022 SEC Tournament championship—earning All-Tournament Team honors—and the Vols have never failed to make the NCAA Tournament with James on the roster.

For his career, he has scored 968 points for a scoring average of 9.0 points per game in 108 appearances with 87 starts.

Head coach Rick Barnes and his staff will deploy a new-look roster in 2023-24, led by James, two-time All-SEC guard Vescovi and point guard Zakai Zeigler, a two-time SEC All-Defensive Team selection.

Additional returners include juniors Jonas Aidoo and Jahmai Mashack, sophomore Tobe Awaka and redshirt freshmen Freddie Dilione V and D.J. Jefferson.

The Vols also recently added three newcomers with Division I experience via the NCAA Transfer Portal in guards Jordan Gainey (USC Upstate) and Dalton Knecht (Northern Colorado) and forward Chris Ledlum (Harvard).

Additionally, Tennessee welcomes three true freshmen newcomers in guard Cameron Carr and forwards J.P. Estrella and Cade Phillips.

-UT Athletics

Vols HC Rick Barnes & F/G Josiah-Jordan James / Credit: UT Athletics

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