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James Bouknight scores 33 points in his full return from injury at the Hoop Group Summer Jam Fest

By Pat Lawless, 07/23/18, 7:45PM EDT


James Bouknight shines at the Hoop Group Summer Jam Fest

In the middle of the high school season James Bouknight tore his meniscus in his left knee. Bouknight, who was relatively an unknown on a national scale, could have used this Nike EYBL season with the PSA Cardinals to add even more looks from schools. Instead he had to sit out most of the Nike EYBL season as he only played limited minutes at the Peach Jam. Sitting out in what would have been the most impactful AAU season of his career was disappointing for Bouknight.

“I was definitely upset sitting on the sidelines knowing there was nothing I could do in order to help the team win,” Bouknight said. “I never really lost confidence though because there were so many people in my ear telling me I’d be fine. Although that helped me a ton I waited so long to get the chance to play 17u on the EYBL circuit. Not being able to play was disappointing.”

Bouknight made his full return at the Hoop Group Summer Jam Fest and didn’t disappoint. Although his team lost to the Philly Pride, he finished the game with 33 points. With it being the first game Bouknight was playing at 100 percent, he didn’t want to put any pressure on himself. He “just wanted to play and have fun.”

“I didn’t go into the game expecting to play the way I did,” Bouknight said. “Coach Munch tells me all the time I don’t even know how good I am. When the game started I just felt on. I kept going from there, playing hard and not trying to force anything, which led to a high scoring game.”

It wasn’t just time that healed his injury. Leading up to this performance Bouknight has worked hard to get back into game shape.

“It’s feeling better definitely, I’m going to therapy every day,” he said. “I’ve been practicing, working hard with Coach Munch. I’ve been talking to my high school coach about how I’m feeling, getting better and just trying to come out here and prove myself.”

H/T Jon Lopez/Nike

As for his recruitment, the New York native is remaining open to all schools at the moment.

“Right now, I’m just keeping my recruitment open, I’m not making any decisions,” Bouknight said.

He has visited UConn, VCU, Temple and UMass thus far. Some of these schools have been very active with him.

“UConn, Virginia Tech has been talking to me a lot, Virginia Commonwealth. I can’t really go through them all in my head, it’s a lot,” he said.

UConn Head Coach Dan Hurley was in attendance during his 33 point performance. Bouknight believes in his ability to develop players.

“The new coach Coach Hurley, I love his player development and I think I can help them win,” he said. “He’s going to help me get to the next level.”

He learned a lot more about VCU during his unofficial visit. There is a lot to like about the Rams, according to Bouknight.  

“That program is great, said Bouknight, “just their facilities, the coaching staff, I like everything about them.”

While many other class of 2019 high major prospects are cutting down their lists or setting official visits, Bouknight is in the opposite position. He is making up for lost time during the Nike EYBL season and will have many other schools enter his recruitment in the near future. Bouknight didn’t start this AAU season where he wanted, but sure is ending it the way he has envisioned.

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