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Tuesday / August 14.
  • James Lists Seton Hall as Favorite; Former Hall Commit Looking at Marquette

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    NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — Seton Hall may not yet have any commits from the Class of 2009, but one 2010 prospect lists the Pirates as his favorite.

    Paterson Catholic junior point guard Jayon James says Seton Hall is at the top of his list.

    “They’ve been recruiting me since going into my freshman year,” the 6-foot-5, 225-pound James said at the Eddie Griffin Challenge. “They offered a group of us when we were freshmen (James, Fuquan Edwin, Trevor Clemmings and Isaiah Epps). They’ve been on me first, so I could stay close to home. They feel like family.”

    James, a former teammate of Seton Hall freshman guard Jordan Theodore, also holds offers from Providence, La Salle and Fordham, he said.

    “If [a commitment] happens, it happens,” he said. “I would like to get it over with early though.”

    James tallied 7 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 1 steal in the Jersey juniors 91-90 loss to their Philly counterparts on Sunday at Rutgers.

    James’ stock dropped with college coaches over the summer when he put on weight. He concedes he “put on a few pounds” and got up to about 250.

    “I was up there,” he said. “Between the breaks, between Florida, Nationals and camp, there was a big time period when I wasn’t doing anything.”

    Yet James says he’s lost 25 points since the summer and hopes to get down to about 210-215 by the time the season starts.

    “I got back in the gym, trying to get back in shape,” he said. “I have to get ready for the season. Just get in great shape, get in the best shape I could be in.”

    James looked pretty good in the Eddie Griffin Challenge, running the length of the court and making some nice passes in transition to his teammates, who included PC junior wing Fuquan Edwin and former PC and current Montclair junior Shaquille Thomas. James also showed a midrange pullup shot.

    He presents a natural matchup problem for opponents because he is taller than most guards, yet he has a keen eye for floor spacing and distribution.

    A year ago, James began the season as PC’s point guard, with Theodore at the two. But after a loss to Plainfield, head coach Damon Wright moved Theodore back to the point.

    James scored 18 points and hit three 3-pointers last March when Paterson Catholic fell to St. Anthony, 84-71, in the North Non-Public B state playoffs.

    This year, the Cougars will likely have to go through either St. Anthony or a loaded St. Patrick team to win the sectional title.

    “We’re looking to go all the way in the states,” James said. “We’re trying to win this year.”

    JACKSON LOOKING AT MARQUETTE

    In other Seton Hall news, onetime commit Jamel Jackson is hoping to visit Marquette soon, possibly this weekend, according to Scout.com

    Jackson is a 6-foot-3, 195-pound shooting guard from Technical Career Institutes in Manhattan who committed to Seton Hall in May. He had hoped to visit Marquette last weekend for Midnight Madness, but instead went with the Golden Eagles to a JUCO event at St. Peter’s College.

    Jackson said Seton Hall is no longer recruiting him, but that DePaul and Kansas State are also interested.

    “In the meantime he’s open for everyone,” TCI coach Pernell Hosier said last month.

    Jackson would have had three years of eligibility remaining at Seton Hall. But when he took summer courses at TCI, he received a C- in one class and a D in another. Seton Hall does not accept anything less than a C, and so Jackson was not admitted to start the season.

    “It’s for academic reasons,” Hosier said. “There are grades that he obtained over the summer session that Seton Hall doesn’t accept, a C- and a D, that leave him two credits short to be eligible.”

    Jackson is spending the year at TCI, while Seton Hall has eight eligible players pending the NCAA Clearinghouse decision on 6-11 freshman center Melvyn “Big Mel” Oliver.

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.