Signing Day with Joel James

After Joel James signed and faxed in his UNC Letter of Intent on Wednesday, the future Tar Heel center talked to InsideCarolina.com about the day, his developing game and his interests off the court.

How'd everything go today? Who was at your ceremony?
"Everything went well. It was just my sister, coach and there was another girl who was signing a letter (of intent)."

Where'd you sign?
"It was in the principal's office. Like in a meeting room or something like that. There were about 10 to 15 people at the most."

Your coach said you didn't want a signing ceremony. Why's that?
"I'm not one to want a lot of attention but it was OK."

Was today a big day for you?
"I just really looked at it like another day only (today) I was signing papers that said I was going (to North Carolina)."

Did your classmates make a big deal about you signing today?
"No, everyone just congratulated me and that was about it."

What are you looking forward to the most about being a Tar Heel?
"Honestly, I'm just excited about getting better. I know if I go there I'm going to develop as a player. I know I've yet to reach anywhere near my potential. So it'll be great."

Where do you see yourself getting better?
"Running, being in better shape. Just being more active on the offensive end. On defense, being able to stop other players my size and things like that."

Do you feel like you're still learning the game?
"I started playing at a late age and I've got a lot of catching up to do."

What kind of goals do you have for yourself and your team this season?
"I want to average a double-double. I definitely want to have a winning season and make it back to the state championship."

Do you guys return much from last year's team?
"No, we're starting new. We're a lot smaller than last year. We were pretty big. The smallest starter on the floor was 6-foot-3. So it's going to be a little tough. We'll be a fast-paced, run-and-gun, defensive team. I'm changing myself. Like my body, I'm trying to get in shape. I'm doing extra sprints and running as much as I can. I'm definitely trying to get there."

It seems like that'll be good preparation for your freshman year at Carolina?
"Oh yeah, definitely. Coach Williams does a lot of running – a lot of running."

How far from being in shape are you?
"On a scale of 1-to-10, I'd say I'm about a 7."

You mentioned the double-double, which part do you think will be tougher, the points or the rebounds?
"Just the rebounds. Because I'm so big, I get a lot of attention. We played in a lot of summer leagues and I'll often get boxed out by two or three people at one time. It's kind of hard to get a rebound with two or three people boxing you out. But I feel like I can do it. There's no ifs ands or buts about it. One way or another, I'm going to get the rebound."

It seems like you're often playing against smaller guys. It seems like it could get tough when people get underneath you.
"Yeah, it really can. I'm getting used to playing low and always down on my knees, flexing, just so I can go around quicker."

Are you working on any post moves right now?
"Yes, I am. When I went for my visit Coach told me I needed to have a jump hook in the middle, a jump hook on the baseline and a turnaround jump shot. That's all I'm working on – those three moves."

Which of the three is your favorite?
"I would personally say my favorite is the middle hook shot. It's the easiest to shoot. I've always had a jump shot but I don't normally shoot it. I just need to be more aggressive."

What's your favorite TV show?
"I really like The Simpsons."

Do you have a favorite episode?
"Man, I think I've seen every episode there is. I really like Mr. Plow. Have you ever seen that episode? They have a plowing business ... it's called Mr. Plow. It's a good show -- it's a great show."

Do you have a hidden talent?
"I can draw really well. I'll draw anything: portraits, people, graffiti. Anything you want me to draw."

What's your favorite class?
"History. That's my favorite subject. That's what I want to study when I get to Carolina."

What's the most interesting thing you've studied in history?
"I'd say World War I and II. I really like those."

What music are you listening to right now?
"Wale 'The Eleven One Eleven Theory' Mixtape. Favorite song is Barry Sanders. If you listen to it you'll be like ‘Ah, that's a good song.'"

Joel James Profile


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