Tennessee guard/forward Josiah-Jordan James has declared for the 2022 NBA Draft. He did not make an official announcement for his decision, but his name was on the 283-player list of NBA Draft prospects after Wednesday’s deadline passed. James is the third Vol to declare for this year’s draft alongside Kennedy Chandler and Santiago Vescovi.
Following in Vescovi’s footsteps, James will maintain college eligibility despite having entered the draft. A college prospect can declare for the draft and maintain eligibility as long as they do not hire an agent. A prospect – in Tennessee’s case James or Vescovi – has until Wednesday, June 1 to withdraw their name from the draft – 10 days after the NBA Combine.
James can take 10 days to look over the scouts’ feedback and assess his potential of being drafted, while the safety net of returning to the Vols is firmly in place.
James’ decision does not come as a surprise to Tennessee. Head coach Rick Barnes expected James to declare for the draft days after Chandler announced his decision.
“I think it is good for him, I do,” Barnes said. “He will do that. Jo is a very methodical and well-thought-out person. He will do it based on how he feels and when he decides when he is going to announce, whether he is going to do it or not.”
In recent years, both Admiral Schofield (2018) and Yves Pons (2020) declared for the draft and returned to Tennessee.
James was as important a piece to the Vols’ run in 2021-22 as any player they had. The 6-foot-6 junior played all over the court and was a nuisance to opposing teams on defense. He was Tennessee’s best defender, guarding positions one through four and recording 46 steals along with a team-high 34 blocks. James also led the Vols with 6.0 rebounds per game.
Aside from his elite defense, James averaged 10.3 points per game on 38.8% shooting. He finished second on the Vols with 56 made three-pointers. James was named to the SEC All-Tournament Team as the Vols won their first SEC title since 1979. He averaged 14 points and 6.3 rebounds per game during Tennessee's run in Tampa, including a 16-point, 10-rebound performance in the SEC Tournament championship game win over Texas A&M.