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Shawn James

Shawn James
File:Shawn James.jpg
No. 21 – EA7 Emporio Armani Milano
Position Power forward / Center
League Serie A
Personal information
Born (1983-09-10) September 10, 1983 (age 32)
Berbice, Guyana
Nationality Guyanese / American
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Career information
High school Notre Dame Prep
(Fitchburg, Massachusetts)
College Northeastern (2004–2006)
Duquesne (2007–2008)
NBA draft 2008 / Undrafted
Pro career 2008–present
Career history
2008–2011 Bnei Hasharon
2011–2014 Maccabi Tel Aviv
2014–present EA7 Emporio Armani Milano
Career highlights and awards

Shawn James (born September 10, 1983) is a Guyanese born American professional basketball player who plays for EA7 Emporio Armani Milano of the Italian Serie A. He plays at the power forward and center positions.

Player profile

A shot blocking machine, he intimidates with his long wingspan and quickness off his feet, but also utilizes anticipation, timing and patience to be truly dominating defensively. Has less impact offensively but scores regularly, especially on dunks after a pass or a rebound and can knock down the mid-range jumper.[1]

Personal life

The son of Gordon and Marva James, he has seven siblings. Three of his brothers played basketball professionally or at college level, his youngest brother is Delroy James who plays at rival Serie A club Enel Brindisi, older brother Gordon has played professionally in Japan and Latin America whilst younger brother Lex played for St. Francis without going pro.[2] He has another brother Devaun and three sisters, Teceeta, Enola, and Minette Graves.[3]

Shawn moved with his parents and most of his siblings to Brooklyn, New York in 1990 from his native Guyana, there he discovered basketball, having mostly dallied with cricket before, he only started seriously playing the game at 17 after a growth spurt. He is married to former Northeastern player Melissa Kowalski who he met at the university, they have two children, twin sons Brooklyn and Brayden.[4]

Duquesne shootings

On September 17, 2006, James and four other Duquesne teammates Sam Ashaolu, Stuart Baldonado, Aaron Jackson and Kojo Mensah were the victims of an unprovoked shooting on the university's Pittsburgh campus. Ashaolu was shot in the head and neck, Mensah in the shoulder and arm, Baldonado through his back into his elbow, James in his left foot whilst Jackson was only grazed on the wrist by a bullet.[5]

The shooter William B. Holmes II pleaded guilty to the shootings and was sentenced to up to 40 years in prison whilst the other gunman, Derek Lee, was sentenced to up to 14 years in prison, former university student Brittany Jones was sentenced to two years of probation for helping her armed friends enter the student dance where the shootings took place, the altercation started after a woman who came to the party with them flirted with one of the players.

James later sued Duquesne University in June 2008, alleging that they failed to provide adequate security on campus and that coach Everhart had made him play injured, all of which restricted his professional career opportunities, the lawsuit, as the similar ones lodged by Ashaolu, Baldonado and Mensah, was dismissed by a federal judge.[6][7]



After playing in Brooklyn's Redirection High School he transferred to Notre Dame Prep in Massachusetts to develop his game under coach Bill Barton, who would be his assistant coach at Dusquesne. After a decent season only two Division I schools believed in his potential, hometown's St. Francis and Boston's Northeastern University, he chose the latter.[8]

This proved to be a wise pick for the Huskies, James' 136 blocks in 2004-2005 broke the school's season record, also ranking him second in the nation, his scoring, field goal accuracy and rebounding allowed him to record two triple doubles on the way to America East Rookie and Defensive Player of the Year awards. The next season he did even better, breaking the NCAA record for blocks per game in a season with 6.53, he had more blocks than 316 of 326 Division I teams, also averaging 12.4 points and 7.9 rebounds (with two more triple doubles) he was again Defensive Player of the Year, this time in the Colonial Athletic Association.

When coach Ron Everhart moved to Duquesne for the next season, James followed him there, under NCAA transfer rules he had to sit out the 2007 season, which he would have had to do in all cases as he was injured following the shooting (see above). He came back the following season having seemingly shrugged off his injury, breaking the school record for blocks in a season with 111 (for perspective he beat Derrick Alston's previous record of 60) and led the team in scoring and rebounding as part of the Duke's first winning season in 14 years, earning a spot on the Atlantic 10 Defensive Team. At the end of the season he declared himself for early entry in the 2008 NBA draft and later signed with an agent, forfeiting his senior year at a university[9] that he left in acrimonious circumstances after his lawsuit and accusations towards Everhart (see above).

He finished his college career with 443 blocks that put him 9th in the all time ranking for blocks, his five triple doubles were one short of tying the NCCA record.[10]


After not impressing in the NBA Predraft Camp in Orlando, anecdotally he was in the same team as future Maccabi teammate Richard Hendrix, he went undrafted in the draft.[11] He hadn't time for regrets as prior to the draft, on the 9th of June 2008 he had already signed his first professional contract, a two-year deal with Israeli Basketball Premier League side Bnei Hasharon.[12]

Having started the season injured he started to adapt to the European game and despite limited playing time he led the league in blocks in a team that was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.[13] After repeating the feat the next season, and improving his stats in all areas to have the third best valuation in the league he signed a one-year extension to his contract. The next season he exploded into the spotlight, again dominating the league for blocks but also for rebounds, which, coupled with good shooting accuracy and solid scoring, made him the best valued player in the league, although he wasn't MVP.

Maccabi Tel Aviv

This would prove sufficient to move from a club that never passed the first match up in the playoffs to league champion and European powerhouse Maccabi Tel Aviv with whom he signed a two-year contract reportedly worth $350,000 per season in May 2011.[14]

His first season with Maccabi allowed him to play against Europe's best in the Euroleague where they reached the quarter finals, on a team level it was a good season, winning the Adriatic League, his first trophy, the Israeli League and the Israeli Cup. On a personal level his playing time diminished as did his stats, although he still managed to top the league in blocks again, he received offers from abroad but having settled in Israel with his family and confident of playing his way into the starting five stayed put.[15]

He was confirmed in his belief the next season, as always he led the Israeli league in blocks which led to his being awarded Best Defender in the league, he was also part of the All-BSL 1st team even whilst Maccabi lost their title for the first time in 3 years. However it was in the Euroleague that he would shine, starting in the majority of his team's games, leading the completion in blocks per game, second in rebounding and fourth in Performance Index Rating on the way to an All-Euroleague Second Team spot, the only player from Maccabi in the team as they didn't qualify for the Final Four again.[16]

Signing a new four-year deal, fan favourite James was even appointed captain, the first non-Israeli captain in the history of the club.[17] In a cruel twist of fate, he got injured halfway through the next season, the ruptured disk in his back requiring surgery and ending his season,[18] he had to watch from the sidelines as Maccabi won the European title for the first time in nearly 10 years.

With the departure of coach David Blatt to the NBA and in all probability because of his injury history, he was released by the club on 28 July 2014 ending a fruitful three year collaboration.[4]

Emporio Armani Milano

A few days later, on 31 July, he signed a two-year deal with rival Euroleague team EA7 Emporio Armani Milano of the Italian Serie A.[19]

Career statistics

  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field-goal percentage  3P%  3-point field-goal percentage  FT%  Free-throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game  PIR  Performance Index Rating
 Bold  Career high
Note: The Euroleague is not the only competition in which the player participated for the team during the season, he also played in domestic competition.


2011–12 Maccabi 14 1 8.4 .448 .000 .667 2.4 .2 .3 .9 2.6 2.9
2012–13 Maccabi 27 22 24.2 .627 .000 .740 6.5 1.0 .9 1.9 11.5 16.6
2013–14 Maccabi 10 5 17.5 .683 1.000 .611 3.3 1.3 .7 1.5 9.8 12.2
2014–15 Milano 18 2 12.8 .532 .000 .440 3.2 .4 .4 .9 3.4 4.4
Career 69 30 17.0 .609 .143 .656 4.3 .7 .6 1.4 7.3 10.0


  1. ^ "Shawn James – Prospect profile."NBA. Retrieved on 18 March 2015.
  2. ^ "Gordon James and his band of brothers."La Nueva Provincia, 6 April 2012. Retrieved on 18 March 2015.
  3. ^ "Delroy James - Bio", Rhode Island Athletics. Retrieved on 18 March 2015.
  4. ^ a b "Shawn James will not Continue with Maccabi."Maccabi Tel Aviv, 28 July 2014. Retrieved on 18 March 2015.
  5. ^ Katz, Andy "James: Woman, boyfriend argued before shootings."ESPN, 21 September 2006. Retrieved on 18 March 2015.
  6. ^ "Ex-Duquesne players shot at 2006 dance sue university."ESPN, Pittsburgh, 23 June 2008. Retrieved on 18 March 2015.
  7. ^ "Judge tosses lawsuits by Duquesne basketball players who were shot on campus."WTAE-TV, Pittsburgh, 1 April 2013. Retrieved on 18 March 2015.
  8. ^ Axelrod, Phil "Dukes' James on record-setting trail."Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 23 January 2008. Retrieved on 18 March 2015.
  9. ^ "Center set to enter NBA draft after hiring agent."ESPN, Pittsburgh, 8 May 2008. Retrieved on 18 March 2015.
  10. ^ "Shawn James", Duquesne Dukes. Retrieved on 18 March 2015.
  11. ^ Katz, Andy."Disappointing night for many early entrants."ESPN, New York, 27 June 2008. Retrieved on 18 March 2015.
  12. ^ "Shawn James."ShamSports, Retrieved on 18 March 2015.
  13. ^ "2008-09 season – Statistics - Leaders", Israeli Basketball Premier League. Retrieved on 18 March 2015.
  14. ^ "Basketball / American center inks deal with Maccabi Tel Aviv."Haaretz, 31 May 2011. Retrieved on 18 March 2015.
  15. ^ Livnat, Arie."Enjoying not being at the center of attention."Haaretz, 26 October 2012. Retrieved on 18 March 2015.
  16. ^ "2012-13 All-Euroleague First and Second Teams announced", Euroleague, 6 May 2013. Retrieved on 18 March 2015.
  17. ^ Allon, Sinai. "Mac TA’s roster highlights concern surrounding local hoops development", The Jerusalem Post, 16 October 2013. Retrieved on 18 March 2015.
  18. ^ "Surgery recommended for Maccabi's James", Euroleague, 27 January 2014. Retrieved on 18 March 2015.
  19. ^ "The Intimidator is coming: Shawn James", Olimpia Milano, 31 July 2014. Retrieved on 18 March 2015.

External links