James Waits a Year to Test NBA and It Pays Off -- 3-Year Deal with Sacramento

© Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

After his junior season at Wyoming, Justin James toyed with the idea of testing the NBA waters and turning pro.

He, however, never got too far with the plan, opting instead to return to Wyoming for his senior season.

In a season beset with injuries -- at one time the Cowboys only had seven scholarship players on the active roster -- James made a statement with his production and leadership, and it paid off.

A second-round draft choice of the Sacramento Kings in the 2019 NBA Draft -- the 40th selection overall -- James has agreed to a 3-year, $4.2 million deal in which the first two seasons are guaranteed.

The announcement of the agreement by Kings general manager Vlade Divac came after James played in six Summer League games with the Kings, including the California Classic in which he averaged 7.0 points, 4.7 rebound, 1.0 assists and 20.1 minutes per game in three games.

In Sacramento's first three games at the MGM Resorts NBA Summer League 2019, James averaged 11.3 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.0 steals and 23.9 minutes per game.

James, a native of Port Saint Lucie, Fla., led the Mountain West in scoring at 22.1 points per game the past season, which ranked No. 19 nationally. He added 8.5 rebounds per game to rank seventh in the conference, and 4.4 assists per game for the to rank fourth in the league. James led the MW in steals with1.5 per game. James became the first player since Penney Hardaway in 1993 to average more than 22 points per game, four assists, eight rebounds and one steal.

He finished the season with 706 points ranking second in single season school history behind Josh Adams' 740 in 2015-16. James made 200 free throws this season to lead the MW and rank tenth nationally.

He finished his career with 2,061 points to rank third in Wyoming history. James also ranks fourth in MW history, passing Marvelle Harris in his final career contest against New Mexico in the opening round of the MW Championship. He finished his career ranking as the 17th best active scorer in the NCAA.


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