A multi-skilled forward is joining the University of Hawaii basketball team.
James Jean-Marie, who is 6 feet 8 and 225 pounds, announced he was transferring from the University of San Diego on Twitter today and confirmed the decision to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
He will join UH as a senior with two years to play one season. He is seeking a waiver that would allow him to play this coming season. Without a waiver, he would have to redshirt as part of the NCAA requirement for players transferring between Division I programs.
Jean-Marie played in all 32 games this past season, starting 28, and averaged 7.4 points and 5.2 rebounds in 25.8 minutes per game. He connected on a team-best 40% of his 3s. He can play the post and the wing and is capable of defending all five positions.
Jean-Marie entered the transfer portal following his lone season with USD. He previously played at two junior colleges. The three assistant coaches who recruited Jean-Marie had moved from the USD staff to other coaching jobs. One of them was Chris Gerlufsen, who joined the UH coaching staff in September.
“It was nothing personal about me and San Diego,” Jean-Marie said. “I felt I had to go somewhere else. All the coaches who recruited me from JUCO all left the program. The head coach is a great person. He helped me a lot. But I felt I had to move on and go somewhere else.”
After entering the portal, Jean-Marie received offers from several Division I teams. But he said he felt UH was the best fit.
“I enjoy the coaching staff at Hawaii, and the university, and the conference, and everything,” Jean-Marie said.
Jean-Marie was born and reared in Montreal. He grew up speaking Haitian creole and French. He said he did not learn to speak English until he was 17, when he moved to Texas for his senior year of high school. Jean-Marie improved his basketball skills — he can post up, drive and shoot 3s — at Athlos Leadership Academy in San Antonio, and then at Indian Hills Community College (Ottumwa, Iowa) and Navarro College (Corsicana, Texas). In 2017-2018, Jean-Marie was a key contributor for a top-ranked Indian Hills team that went 33-0 during the regular season.
Jean-Marie will be reunited with guard Noel Coleman, who earlier transferred from USD to UH.