Player Profile: James Demery

Our Player Profile series rolls on tonight with sophomore shooting guard James Demery. Demery picked St. Joe's over a plethora of high-major offers, and such, arrived on Hawk Hill with lofty expectations. Following a freshman campaign that didn't quite live up to those expectations, Demery is poised to make a leap in year two.

James Demery, a 6'6 197-pound wing guard out of Williamston, North Carolina, was St. Joe's prized 2014 recruit. Demery picked the Hawks over the likes of Florida State, Miami, Georgia Tech, Creighton, and more. Most recruiting sites had Demery in that top 100 to top 150 range nationally in the 2014 class. However, as all college basketball fans learn, rankings and offers mean nothing once you arrive on a college campus.

As a freshman on Hawk Hill, Demery showed flashes of his incredible athleticism and was one of the Hawks' top defenders. Demery averaged 6.7 points and 3.5 rebounds per game as a freshman, in just over 24 minutes per game. The freshman started 29 of St. Joe's games in 2014-2015. He turned in a number of solid outings, including an 11-point, 5-rebound game against LIU-Brooklyn where he hit a game-tying three in the contest's closing seconds. In two games against Rhode Island, Demery scored 11 and 12 points respectively. All of this was while playing tremendous defense.

The problems with Demery last year were two-fold. His first issue was simply shooting the ball. James shot 37% from the field, 18% from three, and 56% from the free throw line. The second part, however, was a struggle finishing around the rim in traffic. Game in and game out, Demery seemed to leave two or three buckets out there, missing chip shots around the rim. For such a tough offensive rebounder, he missed opportunities to get easy points off the glass.

St. Joe's assistant coach Dave Duda spoke to Hawk Hill Hardwood about Demery. "He's really put time in in the weight room and on his shooting form," Duda stated. "His improvement shooting the ball has only been streaky, but his finishing has taken a big jump. He felt like he missed around the basket a lot last year due to lack of strength. He did a lot this offseason to work on that. On top of that, he has all-defensive team ability."

This year, Demery has competition at the two-guard position in the form of freshman Chris Clover. Clover and Demery are likely to split up the minutes at the two. It's also possible that the two stay on the court together at the wings with a point guard and then go small with either DeAndre Bembry or Pierfrancesco Oliva at the four.

In order for Demery to improve on last season, he will have to shoot the ball better, especially from three and the free throw line. He will also need to use his athleticism, coupled with his stronger frame, to finish around the rim at a higher clip. He's put the work in this offseason. Now it's time for him to do it when it counts.

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