Two days before his team meets loaded Bishop Loughlin in Thursday’s CHSAA AA semifinals at Fordham University, the Stepinac senior guard learned he became the first Crusader ever selected to compete in the Jordan Brand Classic.
The 6-foot-1 James, a Greenburgh resident, was selected for the Regional Game of the Jordan Classic, which is in its 12th year. It will be part of a tripleheader at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Apr. 14.
“This is definitely one of the Top 5 things I’ve accomplished,” said James, a two-time all-CHSAA guard who scored his 1,000th career point in Sunday’s win over St. Raymond. “It’s being recognized on a national scale kind of. Even those it’s a regional game, it’s still special being honored in a game like that.”
James has averaged 18.1 points, 5.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game for the Crusaders, who will enter Thursday’s 6 p.m. semifinal with Loughlin at 20-7. Their success in the program’s second season since moving into the AA division earned James first-team all-CHSAA honors and Tim Philp the league’s coach of the year.
Along the way, James has shined against major Division I recruits, like Christ the King senior Jon Severe, Cardinal Hayes junior Shavar Newkirk and Bishop Loughlin juniors Mike Williams and Khadeen Carrington.
“That definitely validates it,” Philp said. “When you’re playing against the top teams like (Cardinal) Hayes, Christ the King, and Loughlin, they all have three to four Division I players. When you can get to this point and help us win, help us have success, i would definitely think that helps.”
“When you play against the caliber of guys we play against, when you have the kind of success in the league we’re having, it gives you a lot of confidence,” James said.