Coach talks about the newest Hawk

On Monday evening, St. Joe's got a pledge from Northside Christian Academy (NC) and Team Charlotte wing guard James Demery. I caught up with NCA/Team Charlotte head coach Jeff McInnis on Tuesday to talk about his star wing's commitment to Phil Martelli and the Hawks.

Jeff McInnis, who had a stellar collegiate career at UNC which was followed by an NBA career, has been coaching James Demery since 8th grade. In a somewhat unique scenario, McInnis is James' high school (Northside Christian) and AAU (Team Charlotte) head coach. He broke down Demery's game and commitment to SJU on Tuesday.

"James is really at his best slashing to the rim, scoring at the rim," McInnis began. "He's able to post up on smaller guards due to his size, and he can shoot the three. It's a little funny looking, but it finds a way in a lot of the time. The word I'd use for him offensively is efficient."

McInnis then went on, practically gushing about the 6'4 wing's defensive prowess. "He's such a good on-the-ball defender, the best defender I've ever coached," he explained. "He'll be able to guard any wing, but he's versatile too. James can guard anything from the one to the three."

On August 1st, James trimmed his list of schools to six. Those six schools were Miami, Tennessee, Creighton, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, and St. Joe's. With a list like that, what was it that gave the Hawks a shot?

"James is such a big relationships guy and cares about loyalty," McInnis stated. "Over the summer, James missed some games with tendonitis and some schools stopped showing up to his games. But Phil (Martelli) didn't. He was there at just about every game, even when he knew James would be sitting out. That meant a lot to James, seeing a head coach there even when he wasn't going to play."

Another selling point for St. Joe's, in addition to his relationship with Coach Martelli, was the ability to shine early in his career. "James just felt that it was right, and there's something about being the big fish in a small pond. It's a great fit," continued McInnis.

Demery took his official visit to St. Joe's the weekend of September 19th, and it was a visit that went very well. "After that visit, St. Joe's is all that James could talk about," McInnis said. "I wanted him to be sure before deciding, but we talked about it and told Coach Martelli that we'd give him an answer on Monday. On Monday, we called and got it done."

James Demery is St. Joe's third commitment in the class of 2014. He joins 5'11 Cardinal Hayes (NY) point guard Shavar Newkirk and 6'7 Pace Academy (NC) power forward Markell Lodge. All three players are known for their defensive prowess and toughness. St. Joe's is not done with the 2014 class either. The coaching staff will look to continue to add pieces to what is a critical recruiting class. And thus far, a really good one.

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