Posted On: 10/6/18 5:00 AM

A powerful 6’4” athlete with some bounce, ball-handling ability, and an excellent motor, Benjamin James (2019) has still evaded the priorities of college programs.

Going into his senior season at Columbus Independence, the combo forward and his coaches have been contacted by Shawnee State, Defiance, and Capitol, but he hasn’t quite reached the latter stages of his recruitment with those programs — visits or an offer.

Part of it could be his incomplete academic résumé which is missing an ACT score. He will take it in the coming months, James says, along with remaining focused on raising his 2.1 GPA.

If recruitment subsequently piles up, James will look for a program that provides support and a motivated locker room.

“Support academically and sport wise,” James began. “I just want to make sure that I can fit in and feel comfortable, you know, going to class every day.”

The good news is that James’s package of skills and physical tools can fit into a lot of styles of play and lineups. He envisions himself as more of a perimeter player at the next level. Although we’d describe him a faceup forward, he definitely possesses feel and slashing ability.

“Passing, court vision, making plays,” James pointed to as strengths. “Defensively, I think I’m pretty good in that area. I’m always still working on that, in case I have to guard a guard that’s quick on his feet. … I’m always working on my defense.”

James uses size and athleticism to snag rebounds and he’s an opportune crasher of the glass — routinely flying in from weak-side for an unexpected board.

“I can easily work in the post, play the five and the four,” James said.

He led the team with 12.7 points per game as a junior. James tells us he will Independence, who went 11-9 last season, in other ways this coming season.

“I think we need to be a little bit more in shape. Mentally, I think we need to be mentally tough,” James said on how they can finish atop the City League next season. “I feel like it’s my responsibility to make sure the team is all in one core. Me being a senior, that’s just one of the things that coach expects of the seniors.”

James’s effort is lead-by-example quality in itself. He also said that vocal leadership comes natural for him.

“I’m always telling people where to go, how to play the person that’s playing you, hyping the team up when we make a good play,” James said.

Despite the classroom remaining a question mark, James does represent himself with maturity and focus in every other off-the-court aspect. His toughness and grit on the court is undeniable, too. Even if he is forced to go junior college out of high school, James will continue developing into a quality role player and stellar young man over those two seasons.