Demery nearing a decision?

Over the weekend, Saint Joseph's hosted one of their top recruiting targets in the class of 2014 for an official visit. Northside Christian Academy (NC) and Team Charlotte shooting guard James Demery made the trip north to Hawk Hill. On Tuesday, Hawk Hill Hardwood spoke with Demery's coach, Jeff McInnis, about his game, his visit to St. Joe's, and where James goes from here.

James Demery had a terrific month of April on the AAU circuit with his Team Charlotte teammates. That month, highlighted by a strong outing at the Pitt Jam Fest, garnered Demery all sorts of high major interest. He whittled that list down to six late in the summer, trimming it to Miami, Tennessee, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, Creighton, and Saint Joseph's. The lone non-high major on the list, SJU seemed to many like an outlier. That interest is genuine, and Demery's official visit to Hawk Hill over the weekend is proof.

On Tuesday afternoon, I spoke with James' coach on both the AAU circuit and at his high school, former North Carolina star and NBA player Jeff McInnis. "I'd say that James is around 6'4 or 6'5 and still growing now," McInnis began. "He's one of the best, no scratch that, the best defensive player I've ever coached. He was locking guys up at the NBA camp in July, but I've always known he had that ability."

While Demery made a name for himself on the defensive end this spring and summer, McInnis said not to discount his offensive abilities as well. "He can flat out score it. He gets lots of points off of his athleticism. Once he gets that jumper down to being a reliable weapon, watch out," McInnis explained. "He plays the game the right way, and the main thing with James is that he's a winner. He just wants to win."

Over the weekend, Demery made the trek north to Hawk Hill for his first official visit. "James felt at home right off the bat," stated McInnis. "He's a relationship kind of guy, and he hit it off with Coach Martelli from day one. They've always had a great relationship. He was at almost every game this summer, even when he knew James wasn't going to be playing because of an injury. Even if he knew that James wouldn't be playing, he was still there, checking in. That means a lot."

While St. Joe's may have looked somewhat out of place on Demery's final list of six schools, McInnis said that James doesn't look at things that way. "He's a different kind of guy," McInnis said of his athletic wing. "He trusts his game so much, he knows that if he goes to St. Joe's he can help change the culture."

With his official visit to St. Joe's in the books an no other official visits scheduled at the moment, where does Demery go from here? "I just got off the phone with South Carolina. They'll be coming in to watch James, and so will Florida State. We're going to sit down then, James and his mom and I, and talk it through. I told Phil (Martelli) that I would call him this weekend, probably Friday, and let him know where we are, give him an answer. We don't want to drag anything on, probably looking at late this week or early next week. I will say, it looks good for St. Joe's now. It's all James can talk about, is the Hawks."

St. Joe's has two North Carolina natives on the current roster in DeAndre Bembry and Chris Wilson. McInnis noted that he and James are very familiar with Bembry, and in fact played St. Pat's last year. He also noted that James and Markell Lodge, another North Carolina native, have been in touch with one another. Lodge will choose between St. Joe's and Stephen F. Austin tomorrow at noon.

After a successful visit to Hawk Hill over the weekend, James Demery appears to be closing in on a decision. He would be a blockbuster signing for Phil Martelli and the Hawks' coaching staff if he were to commit to SJU. Should he say yes in the coming week, he would give the Hawks' additional size and athleticism in the backcourt, where he would play alongside Aaron Brown and DeAndre Bembry on the wing.

Hawk Hill Hardwood Top Stories