Louisville Men’s Basketball lost talented 2021 F Bryce Hopkins commitment recently. While it stung, the staff has been hard at work looking to fill the void left at the position. Today, they were able to fill it with the commitment of 2021 4 Star F Michael James.
The 6’6 195 lbs native of Orlando, FL had offers from Texas A&M, Virginia Tech, NC State, Alabama, Cincinnati, Arkansas, Oklahoma State, TCU, Arkansas, Wake Forest, St Johns, and USF. He ultimately felt that the Louisville offer he received on May 11th was the best option for him.
247sports ranks him as the 105th best prospect nationally and the 18th best SF in their composite rankings. Those rankings take into account rankings made by other sites. 247 themselves rank him as the 85th best prospect nationally and 15th best SF. UofL assistant Mike Pegues was the lead recruiter for James.
James had a very good season for Oak Ridge in 2019-2020. He averaged 18.5 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 1.2 assists per game per MaxPreps.This included a few double-doubles in points and rebounds. He shot 41-percent from 3-point range and 58-percent from inside the arc. From the free throw line, James shot 83-percent. In other words, he was a consistently good shooter for his team and likely attacked the rim a lot.
Michael James Highlights
Above are some of Michael James’ highlights. Recruiting guru Sam will be breaking down James’ game.
Standing 6’6 Michael James, is just what the doctor ordered for both Chris Mack and Louisville fans. Landing a 4 star wing of James’ character and ability says a lot of Mack’s ability to effectively recruit with the NCAA cloud looming over the program.
James is what most experts would call a ‘natural fit’ at the small forward position. Defensively he can guard the 1-3 (point guard, shooting guard and small forward). Offensively, he’s a triple threat (dribble, pass and shoot). Michael will bring a lot of versatility and position flexibility to the Louisville roster.
What stands out on tape about James is his athleticism, length, strength, toughness, and his desire to make plays. Watching his film I couldn’t help, but see a Florida State wing type of player; the same wing players that have given Louisville fits for the last few years. Michael plays both ends of the floor with a certain type of toughness, grit, and swagger. This is the type of toughness that Chris Mack wants his players to have, the kind of toughness that Coach Mack is trying to implement here at Louisville.
Louisville fans will be really impressed and pleased with Michael’s intensity on defense. James moves his feet really well on defense and has the ability to completely shut down a player for an entire game. Not only does Michael move his feet on defense, but he uses his long arms to deflect passes, disrupt passing lanes and angles. Michael is a very gifted played, he has great anticipation and instincts. Instincts that enable him to jump passing lanes and get easy transition baskets for his team. Michael also uses his 6’6 frame to battle on the boards. Last year, we saw the amount of success Jordan Nwora had attacking the glass and the problems it caused for the opposing teams guards and forwards. Look for Michael to have similar success on the boards as Jordan did early on in his career.
Offensively, Michael is a very capable scorer. James can score at all 3 levels. The 50/40/90 club is a statistical club that highlights excellent shooters and scores. Although Michael is in high school, his shooting percentages were in a very impressive club of his own (50/40/80). James has an uncanny ability to get to rim against any defender. Michael is a very good outside shooter, which sets up his rim attacks. He never settles and always gets to the spots that he wants to on the court. With Michael being such a capable scorer, a lot of teams overlook his passing abilities. Michael is a very willing passer and a play maker from the wing. FSU has shown us in the past you could never have enough play makers on the floor and athletes that are able to win one-on-one battles and get to the basket. Michael James is that player.
There are a few things that I’d love to see Michael James improve on during his senior year and when he gets to UofL: Although James shoots very efficiently from the field, he needs to work on having a quicker release on his jumper. The second thing I’d love for James to improve is his ball handling. As an improved ball handler, James would have an improved role in the offense and be able to get to his spot and score easier. The last, and probably most important, aspect of Michael’s game I would like to see improvement in is his consistency. James has all the talent and measurements to excel under Chris Mack. It will be fun to see his growth as a player at UofL.
Michael James is a underrated talent that fills a void that was left with Bryce Hopkins de-commitment. James is a highly athletic wing that can become a star in Mack’s system. In fact, he’s tailor-made for the system with his ability to score at all three levels, attack the rim, finish through contact, and defend and rebound. Think of a better shooting and finishing Deng Adel.
With Michael James commitment, Louisville now has 4 commits. The class is ranked 10th nationally and 2nd in the ACC per 247sports.
Take a listen to our newest commit as he speaks with journalist Zach Schumaker about his commitment to Louisville in an interview below.
🔵 @MichaelToReal0 interview out now 🔵— Zach “🅂🄲🄷🅄🅉” Schumaker (@_SchuZ_) September 9, 2020
– Joining @elellis3 @eric_vdh23 and @BobbyPettiford in Louisville 2021 class
– @CoachChrisMack reaction to his commitment
– What the turning point of his career was
– Who Louisville is targetting
Interview: https://t.co/fKSeKpHY8p pic.twitter.com/kWF5oMGG3B