By LARRY VAUGHT
Tennessee freshman Josiah-Jordan James knew he would be seeing plenty of Kentucky signees Tyrese Maxey and Kahlil Whitney when he played in the McDonald’s All-American Game this spring with them.
The Vols have more than held their own against UK the last two years for coach Rick Barnes and James doesn’t expect that to change.
“If you look at it, Kentucky should beat anybody because they have all these prestigious five-star players,” James said. “But it it is not really about that once you step on the court. Coach Barnes preaches that day in, day out.
“I have talked with other SEC players about who is going to run the SEC. I have told them Tennessee is going to hold it down but they have other ideas. It’s going to be fun. I think there are a lot of great players coming in and there will be a lot of battles. We will push each other but it will be fun.”
James played on the USA under 18 team with Maxey and knows how good he will be for coach John Calipari.
“I think he is a great guard and great player. He is a great person as well,” James said. “He’s fun to be around but on the court it is all business all the time. He’s a great competitor and I can’t wait until I match up with him because I know how good he is and how hard he will play.”
James says Maxey’s infectious personality should be a huge plus for Kentucky, too.
“He really is always smiling. He is never having a bad day and that’s what I like about him the most,” James said.
“He has great energy. He is never trying to bring anybody down. He is always trying to uplift people and that’s the type of leader you want to be around. As good a player as he is, that quality might make him an even better teammate to have.”