The University of Alabama announced its sixth new member of the 2019-2020 men’s basketball team on Monday, releasing the news that James Rojas, a 6-foot-7 forward from Hutchinson (Kans.) JC, had sent in his paperwork to officially join the program.

Rojas was a National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) and National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) First Team All-American in the 2018-19 season.

“I’ve known James since his early high school years and have developed a great relationship with him and his mother,” Alabama head coach Nate Oats said in the release. “He’s exactly what we’ve been looking for in a player…. He’s one of the toughest players I’ve ever seen. He’s the ultimate competitor and cares about the team winning first and foremost. He plays with a chip on his shoulder determined to prove he can play with anyone in the country and despite having achieved a great deal the last two years, I know James will still be playing with same chip on his shoulder. Experienced, tough, competitive and skilled players are who you win with in today’s game. His loyalty, drive, and humility fit our culture we’re building here at Alabama. James embodies all those qualities and we’re ecstatic to welcome him into our program.”

Rojas joins graduate transfer guard James “Beetle” Bolden (Covington, Ky./Holmes HS/West Virginia) and freshman Raymond Hawkins (Oakland, Calif./Findley [Nev.] Prep) as spring signees. Last fall during the early signing period, the Tide inked a trio of ESPN Top-100 players in forward Juwan Gary (Charlotte, N.C/West Charlotte) and guards Jaylen Forbes (Florence, Miss./Florence) and Jaden Shackelford (Hesperia, Ca./Hesperia) who, combined with Rojas, make up the six members of the Tide’s 2019 signing class.

Alabama has seven returning players — guard Kira Lewis, swing players Herbert Jones, Tevin Mack and John Petty and post players Javian Fleming-Davis, Galin Smith and Alex Reese. The Crimson Tide, now at the 13-player limit mandated by the NCAA, could still add an additional player depending on other potential roster movement.

Rojas appeared in 29 games as a sophomore during the 2018-19 campaign. He was Hutchinson’s leading scorer and the Jayhawk Conference’s third-leading scorer at 19.0 points per game, while also collecting 6.8 rebounds and 1.5 steals in 25.8 minutes a contest. The Jamestown, N.Y., native finished the season shooting 50.4 percent from the field and 38.4 percent from beyond the arc, knocking down 28 three-pointers (28-of-73). He was also a 79.5 percent free throw shooter.

Reach Cecil Hurt at cecil@tidesports.com or on Twitter (@cecilhurt)

 

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