When Charleston’s Josiah James was being recruited by Clemson, the Tiger coaches would occasionally bring up the name of the next-in-line.
“I know he’s one of the great young guards coming out of South Carolina,” James said. “Clemson told me a lot about him.”
James, who committed to Tennessee over Clemson in September, is SC’s undisputed top player in the 2019 class. He’s a five-star prospect on a mission to leave Porter-Gaud with four state championships.
On Saturday night, James finally met one of SC’s best in the ‘20 class. Dorman’s Myles Tate scored 24 points, had five assists and grabbed four rebounds as the 5A power outlasted James’ Cyclones, 59-54, in overtime in the Auto Owners Insurance Showcase at Lexington High School.
Tate, the one James has been hearing about, lived up to the hype.
“He definitely showed what he can do and what he’s capable of doing,” said James, who totaled 36 points, 12 boards, seven blocks and two steals in a losing effort. “He’s a really good player.”
James, a physical 6-foot-6, 200-pounder who can play up to four positions, had scholarship offers from the likes of Duke, Kansas, Michigan State, Arizona, South Carolina and Clemson before he signed with the Volunteers. Tate, a 6-foot point guard, isn’t likely to have that deep a list when he decides on a college, but he’s drawing plenty of attention.
USC offered him in June. Wofford and South Florida are among the others that have done the same. Tate reported Saturday that Virginia and Oklahoma State have shown recent interest.
On Dorman’s varsity squad since eighth grade, Tate is a regular to high-profile games. He scored 34 points in the Cavaliers’ win over Zion Williamson and Spartanburg Day last January.
“So Myles has played against the best,” said Dorman coach Thomas Ryan. “Obviously Josiah is a special, special talent. He played really well tonight. But overall, our guys played the way that he needed to. Myles made a big play to start overtime there. It was huge.”
After James willed Porter-Gaud back from a double-digit deficit in the second half to force OT, Tate began the extra session with a pull-up jumper from the elbow.
Because of roster makeup and size difference, James and Tate went 1-on-1 on just a few occasions. A Cyclone defensive switch in the first half led to Tate staring down James at the top of the key. James clapped in anticipation of the matchup. Tate was eventually fouled on the possession after a pass and move to the baseline.
Earlier in the game, James was called for goal-tending as he tried to swat away a Tate layup attempt.
“I just got to live up to those expectations, those matchups,” Tate said. “Those are the matchups you dream for. He’s working to where I want to be, and I look up to him as a player. And I’m sure he knows that I’m trying to get where he’s at.”
Dorman again was missing P.J. Hall, 2020’s other top player in the state. The junior forward — and Carolina target — has been sidelined all season with a knee injury.
Tate combined with Ta’Lon Cooper, a Morehead State signee, for 80 percent of Dorman’s points against Porter-Gaud.
“What Myles is learning is the last couple years, he’s been our main scorer,” Ryan said. “We’ve allowed him to score a lot of points. He’s been a facilitator this year. He’s going to be a true point guard in college. Tonight, he had five assists. He had nine assists two nights ago.
“So he’s learning to get the balls to the right guys. Myles can score, but he can also make great passes. He sees the floor well and I think that’s his next progression.”
Tate said he hears from USC’s coaches every couple weeks. Perhaps Saturday’s clash will spur the next conversation.
“I was looking forward to it,” Tate said. “(James is) a special talent. He has great size and he can shoot it. He just does everything well. We tried to contain him. There’s only so much you can do when you’re playing against a player like him.”
Added James on Tate: “He’s a great player and I hope he keeps working because he has a lot of potential.”