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VGCC welcomes former NBA player as new basketball coach

Tim James, a former NBA and University of Miami basketball player and a United States Army combat veteran, has been named head coach of the Vance-Granville Community College Vanguards men’s basketball team. James (pictured above), who lives near Atlanta and is in the process of moving to the VGCC area, will become the second head coach in the history of the program, which starts its fourth season of play in the National Junior College Athletic Association on Nov. 5.


The Miami native graduated from the University of Miami in 1999, where he became just the second Hurricane to have his number (40) retired and the only Hurricane to record over 1,500 points, 800 rebounds and 200 blocked shots in a career. Playing forward, he helped Coach Leonard Hamilton’s squads to four consecutive winning seasons and three consecutive postseason bids, including the school’s first NCAA tournament trip since 1960. James was a two-time First Team All-Big East selection, and was named Third Team All-American by both the Associated Press and National Association of Basketball Coaches. He was named Co-Big East Player of the Year in 1998-1999, along with Connecticut’s Richard Hamilton. In addition to his basketball accomplishments, he holds the University of Miami record high jump of 7′-1 1/4″ and won the Big East high jump title twice, in 1996 and 1997. He was inducted into the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame in 2009. After graduating from UM, James became a first round draft pick (25th overall) of the Miami Heat. He spent three years in the NBA with Miami, the Charlotte Hornets and the Philadelphia 76ers, and then played professionally overseas in Turkey, Japan and Israel. James enlisted in the U.S. Army in 2008 and after basic training was deployed to Iraq on July 27, 2009, where he served for 12 months before returning to the United States in 2010. James is believed to be the first former NBA player to enlist and then serve in Iraq. He was honorably discharged with the rank of Corporal earlier this year.


“I grew up around the game of basketball from around the age of eight,” James said. “I developed a natural passion and love for the game and had the opportunity to learn from some of the greatest coaches in the country, including Leonard Hamilton, Pat Riley and Larry Brown. Now, I’m excited about being able to give back some of my experience to the student-athletes at Vance-Granville.” James said that not only his basketball career but also his Army background will be helpful in his new role. “I hope that I can pass along some of the leadership skills I acquired in the military,” James said. “Being able to coach a college team is a great opportunity, and I’m ready to get started.”