Posted: 1:16 pm Sunday, October 2nd, 2011

Reports: Dwyer hoops star Joel James verbally commits to North Carolina 

By Jeff Greer

He’s one of the biggest basketball stars Palm Beach County has seen in recent years, and Joel James capped off his fast rise to stardom with a verbal commitment to North Carolina.

The 6-foot-10, 285-pound James joined Dwyer’s basketball program as a sophomore and quickly learned that he had a long way to go before he’d be a star post player.

READ MORE: Joel James is learning and getting tons of attention

In two years’ time, James has lost some 20 pounds and grown four inches. He’s vastly improved at using his size to clear out space and rebound and score in traffic. And he’s become so well known, the national recruiting sites stopped misspelling his first name — they used to spell it “Joell” — and started paying attention to him.

As a junior, James was used as a big body in the paint and the last man in Dwyer’s suffocating fullcourt press. He often dealt with foul trouble, something that partly had to do with him learning how to use his growing body, but also had to do with being the biggest guy on the court by five inches. He averaged just around seven points and seven rebounds a game in 2010, but he’ll be an even bigger part of Dwyer’s 2011-12 campaign.

James chose North Carolina over Clemson, FSU, Massachusetts, Miami, South Carolina and UCF. He was the 11th-ranked center in the 2012 class on Rivals and ESPN.

James (Photo by Damon Higgins/Palm Beach Post)

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