James Daniel, a 6-0, 175-pound guard from Hampton, Virginia, has signed an institutional aid agreement and plans to enroll at Tennessee this summer and play for the Volunteers as a graduate transfer during the 2017-18 season.
Daniel earned his degree in Sociology from Howard University this spring.
One of the best-kept secrets in college basketball during the 2015-16 season, Daniel led the country in scoring at 27.1 points per game, ultimately earning Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Player of the Year honors and honorable mention All-America distinction. Daniel’s memorable junior season for the Bison featured nine games of 30 or more points, including a career-best 39 in a win over William & Mary.
“James gives us not only offensive production but toughness and experience as well,” Vols head coach Rick Barnes said. “He recognized that our program has a lot of positive momentum and it means a lot to us that this was an important factor for him. He has already distinguished himself individually and now wants to have an impact on team success. Adding James to our roster is significant because it gives us some really good depth in our backcourt and the potential for some potent offense.”
As a junior in 2015-16, Daniel shot .388 from the field, including .332 from beyond the arc. He attempted 241 total 3-pointers on the year, good for just more than eight per game. Daniel also got himself to the free-throw line with astounding frequency, attempting a nation-leading 331 free throws his junior season—good for 11 attempts per game. He converted those freebies at an .846 clip.
A product of Hampton’s Phoebus High School, where he was named Virginia’s Tri Player of the Year, Daniel played only two games at Howard last season as he coped with an ankle injury that ultimately required surgery in March. After missing the first 14 games of the season with what had been diagnosed as a high ankle sprain, Daniel played two games in January before being told he had chipped a bone in his left ankle, effectively ending his season.
In his brief action in 2016-17, Daniel—the preseason MEAC Player of the Year—scored a game-high 24 points against Florida A&M before adding 10 points at Columbia. Those outings pushed his career scoring total to 1,933 points—the most in Howard’s basketball history and just 342 shy of the MEAC’s all-time scoring record.
Daniel led the Bison in scoring in each of his three full seasons with the program, averaging 21.0 points per game as a freshman and 16.7 points per game as a sophomore.
For his career, Daniel is averaging 21.5 points, 2.4 assists, 2.3 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game. His career shooting percentage stands at .366, including a .335 mark from 3-point range and an .822 mark at the charity stripe. He has averaged more than 30.0 minutes in each of his collegiate seasons, logging more than 3,000 total minutes (33.9 mpg) over his career.
Daniel becomes the ninth Virginian to suit up for the Vols and the first since Justin Jackson completed his eligibility in 2008-09.
Daniel will be the fifth incoming graduate transfer in program history, following forward John Fields (2010-11), guard Antonio Barton (2013-14), guard Ian Chiles (2014-15) and forward Lew Evans (2016-17).
Tennessee’s crop of newcomers for the 2017-18 season now stands at five. Standing as the only senior on next season’s roster, Daniel joins incoming freshmen Zach Kent, Derrick Walker and Yves Pons as well as junior college transfer Chris Darrington