2013 Con Ed Award winner
Name: Joshua James
Other sports: None
Likes: Martin television show; Lebron James and Kyrie Irving; hip hop and R&B
Dislikes: The Yankees, avocados, hockey
Future plans: To play Division I basketball at Monmouth University.
Holding on to a tight lead over New Rochelle in the fourth quarter of the Slam Dunk Tournament title game, Stepinac coach Timothy Philp knew exactly who he wanted handling his offense.
0I was most comfortable with the ball in Josh James2 hands because he doesn2t turn the ball over,2 Philp said of the senior, this week2s Con Edison Athlete of the Week. 2His leadership and presence as a senior in terms of what he2s capable of doing on the court is what really separates him.2
After beating Mahopac in the opening round 66-44, the Crusaders held on in the title game 60-50. James took tournament MVP honors for his consistent, mistake-free play. He had 12 points, seven assists, five rebounds and four steals in the championship game, the Crusaders2 second Slam Dunk title in three years.
James, who will play for Monmouth University in the fall on a full basketball scholarship, says he relishes high-pressure situations.
0I always remind myself to go about the game like I normally would,2 said the White Plains resident. 2At that time a lot of people get anxious. If you really want to win the game you have to tell yourself to stay calm and stay consistent with what you2re doing. The game will be over soon.2
His calm attitude and refusal to panic helped lead Stepinac to a 9-1 record heading into Friday night2s game against Cardinal Hayes. Philp credits James and his fellow seniors with setting the tone for the team2s success.
0Every year is different. You2re going to get leadership from your seniors but to what extent, every year is different,2 Philp said. 2This year in particular all of them, Josh James, Andrew Murray, James Decker, they2re great guys, they2re all blue-collar guys. They get their hands dirty. They want to work, want to win and don2t care about stats.2
Despite the unselfish play, James leads Stepinac in scoring, averaging 18 points per game. He also nets six rebounds, five assists and three steals per contest.
Away from varsity basketball James spends much of his time volunteering for youth clinics. He works with youngsters in Philp2s summer, Christmas and Easter basketball camps and referees youth basketball games at the Theodore Young Recreation Center in White Plains.
0I9m happy when I can go back to the Theodore Young. It2s the gym where I grew up learning the fundamentals of basketball,2 James said. 2It9s great because you get to see the future of Stepinac and tell them what they should expect coming into high school and the Catholic League.2
As far as choosing where to play at the next level, James admitted that the experience was stressful. In addition to Monmouth, he had scholarship offers from Iona, Manhattan, St. Peter2s and other Division I schools.
0It was difficult,2 James said. 2I chose Monmouth because I had a bond with the coaches. They2re also from New York. They2re really down to earth. I know I can learn a lot from them.2
The Con Edison Athlete of the Week recognizes students in Westchester and Putnam schools who excel athletically. Academic achievements, leadership, citizenship, school and community activities are also factors. The winner is selected each week by a panel of athletic directors and coaches who review ballots submitted by each athlete2s athletic director or coach.