Shawn James

Shawn James profile
Not in any ranking or draft
Height: 6'9" (206 cm)
Weight: 217 lbs (98 kg)
Position: PF
High School: Notre Dame Preparatory School (Massachusetts)
Hometown: New Amsterdam, Guyana
College: Duquesne
Current Team: Boulazac
Win - Loss: 26 - 15


Day One: Atlantic-10 Tournament Blog

Kyle Nelson
Kyle Nelson
Mar 13, 2008, 04:57 am
Amidst a hail of heckles from a bawdy LaSalle crowd, Shawn James played his first full game since injuring himself against Charlotte on March 2nd. While he was not at full speed, he was still just as fearsome of a defensive presence as he has proved to be in the past. At one point, a LaSalle player actually picked up his dribble in the paint because he was so frightened of getting his shot swatted. What differentiates James from other prolific collegiate shot blockers is not his wingspan and timing, but his patience; perimeter players will get by him and he wait until they have the false sense of security to release the ball before he swats it away. On one possession alone, James racked up 3 of his 4 blocks. This being said, because of James’s lack of lateral quickness, which was on display today against LaSalle’s mobile big men, he probably does not have much potential to be a face-up power forward at the next level as initially thought. His offensive ability is still an enigma, likely because Duquesne’s guards seem to have a phobia of passing the ball inside, but based on today’s performance, as well as tape, it does not seem as though he has been able to break from his mechanical offensive movement. He has made tremendous improvements over the past couple years, which still leaves considerable potential on the table; however, the window is getting smaller every day for the 24 year old junior, now rising senior.

NCAA Weekly Performers, 12/12/07--Part Two

Rodger Bohn
Rodger Bohn
Jonathan Givony
Jonathan Givony
Kyle Nelson
Kyle Nelson
Joey Whelan
Joey Whelan
Dec 13, 2007, 02:41 am
Shawn James is a fascinating and frustrating prospect at the same time. While he possesses outstanding physical tools and a tantalizing skill set, he is in a system that is not rewarding to post players and is coming off of a transfer season filled with injuries and inaction. The past three games, particularly games against West Virginia and Pittsburgh, really show both sides of James, the great, and the rusty.

Most NBA draft junkies know Shawn James, the elite shot blocker, but first it is worth mentioning how much his offensive game has improved. Against good post defense, James had the ability to showcase his various improvements and his potential to be a post player and post scorer at the next level. The results were mixed. James is still a somewhat of a work in progress on the offensive end. On the low blocks, he shows a nice arsenal of post moves, from spin moves to turnarounds. While he does not have the greatest touch in the world, he does convert on a good amount of his shots around the basket, shooting 58% for the season.

Moving away from the basket, James has shown similar improvement. He can catch the ball on the perimeter and take a few dribbles to the basket, or turn around and back his man down in a style that, while still a little bit mechanical, is extremely effective at this level and bodes well for his future. Also effective are his running jump hooks in the lane. However, all of this being said, you’d like to see a guy with James’s athleticism and speed be more aggressive around the hoop. Basically, he does not power the ball around the basket nearly enough. This is definitely something to work on, but for someone who sat out for a season, some of the time doing rehabilitation for a gunshot wound, he seems to be making positive strides and could show these improvements even by the end of the season.

Even further from the basket, James is effective, being able to knock down open jump-shots from 15 feet to just inside the NBA three point line. He has a consistent shooting form, but one that could still use a substantial amount of work. However, he shoots foul shots very well for a post player, which proves that it’s just a matter of practice in terms of tightening up his jump-shot’s form. For a guy James’s size, this is an attractive facet of his offensive game. Still, you’d like to see him getting more involved under the basket. However, because of the nature of the Duquesne offense, touches are few and far between. Even though he and fellow post player, Kieron Achara, are averaging over 26 ppg, they are still having to scrap for their points and hope for passes from their trigger happy, selfish guards. Therefore, a lot of James’s points are self-created and have a lot to do with his aggressiveness on the offensive boards as well as his ability to face the basket on the offensive end. James’s offense in general is a little mechanical and inconsistent, but as said before, he should be constantly improving all season and shaking off the rust.

On the defense end, James is a presence merely by stepping onto the court. Watching West Virginia and Pittsburgh shoot over 15 three-pointers per game shows, to a certain extent, his incredible defensive reputation. He is incredibly gifted athletically and uses a combination of length with this athleticism to alter shots at a remarkable rate. He also has superior body control, timing, and consistency, making him a shot blocking threat in the open floor as well as in the post. Whomever James defends is usually altering their shot by the end of the game. In terms of his actual post defense, the key word is strength. James is very skinny and even if he were to succeed at the next level as a face up power forward, he is still far too weak to get touches on the offensive end and make plays on the defensive end. He should look to gain more muscle, though this could be an endeavor for a guy who has only been able to put 20 pounds onto his already feeble frame. He has the quickness and agility to be a good post defender, but it all depends on whether or not he can gain the right amount of strength.

This also affects his rebounding. While he rebounds at an extremely high rate for the amount of minutes he plays, he still has a long way to go before being considered an elite rebounder. For one, James is always a second late establishing position on the boards, constantly giving his man time to box him out. Despite his athleticism and length, he is not strong enough to fight around the box out or establish position for himself. Therefore, on the defensive boards, as well as the offensive boards, he is somewhat of an underachiever. Considering the fact that he is already pulling in 7.7 rpg, his potential is through the roof should he be able to become stronger and work on his fundamentals.

That is a good way to describe Shawn James: potential is through the roof. So, even though James is having one of the best years of his career, he has a lot of work to do before becoming a legitimate NBA prospect. He has the size, athleticism, and ability to, if he works hard, become a serviceable face-up power forward in the future. The rest of this year will be a telling one for James in terms of how much of this potential is actually attainable. For the upstart Duquesne Dukes, however, James’s involvement on the offensive end is essential for any sort of success.

In Case You Missed It...the Top Weekly Performers, 2/20-2/27

Jonathan Givony
Jonathan Givony
Mike Schmidt
Mike Schmidt
Feb 28, 2006, 03:19 am
A player who is long overdue for a mention in this column, Shawn James is on pace to accomplish an extremely impressive feat: shattering the all-time NCAA single-season shot-blocking record, in just his 2nd year in college. The record (6.4 blocks per game) is currently held by Golden State Warriors big man Adonal Foyle, who accomplished the feat while playing in a much weaker Patriot league conference playing for Colgate. Foyle blocked 180 shots in 28 games in 1997, which helped him become the 8th overall draft pick after his junior year just a few months later. He also averaged 24.4 points per game and 13.1 rebounds that year…James currently sits at 176 blocks in 27 games, with one regular season game remaining, the CAA conference tournament, and a likely postseason bid to either the NIT or NCAA tournament.

James, a native of Guiana in the West Indies, plays for Northeastern in the Colonial Athletic Association, widely considered the best mid-major conference in America after the Missouri Valley and a likely multi-bid league for the NCAA tournament. He plays alongside Jose Juan Barea, easily one of the five best NCAA point guards in the country and a legit NBA draft prospect in his own right. James is a threat to put up a triple-double on any given night, already recording 4 in his first two seasons.

For James it’s not so much the incredible shot-blocking numbers he puts up, but the way he does it in a completely different style than anyone else among the other top shot-blockers in the country that makes it so remarkable. James blocks shots with his mind just as much as he does with his arms. He anticipates and times his jump beautifully, getting high in the air with his pterodactyl-like arms outstretched, tapping the ball to himself or a teammate to almost always keeping the ball in-bounds, and just intimidating and rejecting shot attempts from angles that most players have never had their shot blocked before thanks to his incredible reach. James could end up challenging David Robinson’s record for blocks in a single game by the time he is done at Northeastern; the Admiral from Navy had 14 blocks in 1986, as did Shawn Bradley with BYU in 1990 and Loren Woods with Arizona in 2000. James has reached double-digits in blocked shots five times this season and twice in a matter of 8 days last week, rejecting James Madison 11 times and then going to Delaware and blocking 10. James goes after anything and everything that comes around the hoop, being incredibly active in his will to make plays, always being around the ball and showing outstanding instincts in the process.

Offensively, James is showing both the ability and the willingness to move his game out to the perimeter to more of a small forward’s role. He will probably never be a full-time small forward, but the added versatility he is showing makes him all the more intriguing. He likes to operate in the high post, where he shows decent passing ability and an all-around nice feel for the game considering his relative lack of basketball experience. He’s unselfish and understands the team concept, clearly wanting to do a little bit more for his team than he is currently able to, but usually realizing that he plays with an incredibly dominant player in Barea and deferring to him when immediate opportunities to score aren’t presented to him.

He’s still finding ways to improve game by game, though, expanding his range out to the 3-point line this season (shooting 20 of 46 on the year or 43.5%), knocking down shots when he has time to set his feet, and even putting the ball on the floor to take advantage of the quickness advantage he has over the big men he is always guarded by.

In the post, James lacks the strength and bulk to make his presence felt with his back to the basket game, besides a raw looking jump-hook that he will bust out on once in a while. Most of his points come off offensive rebounds and in transition, as well as from the newfound range on his jump shot that he’s been showing more and more lately. His raw athleticism alone allows him to outquick and outjump most of his opponents, and he’ll often go well outside his area to come up with a long rebound. When he gets to the free throw line, he knocks down his shots at a very impressive 80% clip.

To truly become a legit 1st round prospect for 2007 or 2008 (if he isn’t one already), James will have to put some serious weight on his skinny frame. He came into Northeastern listed at a paltry 195 pounds, but definitely looks a bit bulkier than that already. His lack of lower body strength makes it tough for him to establish and hold a spot on the block, which comes to play in his inability to post up his man, hold on to rebounds when facing fierce opposition, or keep his man out of the paint defensively.

What’s amazing about this story is that James has only been playing organized basketball for four years now; one in high school, one in prep school and two in college, despite already being 22 years old. Entering high school, James was only a measly 5 foot 7 before hitting an incredible growth spurt that eventually saw him grow 14 inches by the time he was 18. In spite of his age, he seems to be making huge strides in his game every time we get to see him, showing new things all the time and most importantly continuing to show a great feel for the game considering his lack of experience and an even better passion and attitude around his teammates. Best of all, all anyone in the Northeastern program ever wants to talk about is not what an excellent player Shawn James is developing into, but the type of person he is off the court that really makes him so special.

If James and his superstar teammate Barea can find a way to click at the same time for a matter of just few days in the CAA conference tournament, there might not be a team that can be able to stop them from reaching the NCAA tournament. If that happens, you might actually start hearing his name in the national media once or twice for a change.

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