F Michael James, Oak Ridge High School
James is the first of two forwards in the 2021 class that have signed. James is likely going to play the small forward position for the Cards at the next level. The 6’6″ 195-pound James ranks as the 85th player overall in the 2021 class and the 15th ranked small forward prospect by 247 Sports.
James attends Florida high school power Oak Ridge where he led the team to a 7A state semifinals appearance in 2020. James averaged 18.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game in the 2019-20 season.
What he can provide the team
James is a “first off the bus” kind of guy. His frame is massive and he looks like one of those wings in the ACC that you do not want any sort of problems with. He may have the potential to put even more weight on once he gets into the U of L strength and conditioning program.
James is strong as heck. When he attacks the paint, he is not looking for finesse inside like guards Ellis and Pettiford. He is looking to go straight through you. If you’re in the way, chances are you are getting bowled over.
James isn’t all brute force. He has a smooth looking jump shot from the 3-point line. If you get him the ball in a catch-and-shoot position, his stroke should tell you that he can knock that kind of shot down with relative consistency.
James is also a great athlete. A player of his size with his length and athleticism provides him with a lot of tools before he even sets foot in his first college practice. Michael James has the build of what Montrezl Harrell would look like if he was a few inches shorter.
James has future All-ACC defensive team written all over him. Don’t be surprised if he ends up locking up some of the best shooting guards and wings in the conference before his time at Louisville is done.
Once his tools are refined on both ends of the floor, look out. There is a lot of upside to like with Michael James.
Are you sensing a trend that Louisville is recruiting major athletes? Whether it is speed or freaky vertical athleticism, the Cardinals are going to be high flying thanks to the 2021 recruiting class. James is just another one of those guys.