« Men’s Basketball 2009-10

Damion James

University of Texas


James is working towards his degree in education at the University of Texas.  He was named first-team Academic All-Big 12 in 2008-09 and a second-team member in 2007-08.  James is a four-time member of the Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll, which requires a 3.0 grade point average during a semester.


James grew up in a less than ideal living situation in Nacogdoches, Texas, that would have left a long line of people broken and torn.  Despite the turmoil and the drug trafficking that was going on around him every day, he kept himself out of harm’s way.  James surrounded himself with people who would assist him in his rocky life journey, and knowing when he needed help, James would turn to friends, coaches and even teammates to help him out and would even spend weeks at a time at a friend’s house just so he was not exposed to the gang violence in his neighborhood.  Since his arrival on campus in Austin three years ago, James has been a vital asset for the Longhorn basketball team.  He does whatever possible to get players to come together and blossom into a tight-knit group.  Former Texas star Kevin Durant states that, “he wanted the team to be a family—a family.  It was something that was very important to him.”  After all, family is something that James did not have as a kid to celebrate a milestone or support him through tough times.  The positive light that James shines on his teammates and coaches reflects on his parents, Katrina and Jerry, as well - both of whom have had legal troubles throughout James’ childhood.  James’ positive outlook on life makes his mother want to be a better mother for her other sons and has inspired his father to start his own clothing line. The idea that James has the strong chance to become a daily name in the NBA next season seems like a far-fetched notion considering the life that James was handed as a child.  But, one look at James and the average fan will know that James has what it takes to make a difference on the court and more importantly in the lives of other individuals.


During the past two seasons, James has volunteered at O’Henry Middle School, assisting the students and the school to identify leadership skills in students and promote the effective development of these skills.  He has also visited Habbi’s Hutch, Sanchez Elementary, Zavala Elementary, two childcare centers, a pre-kindergarten classroom and an early childhood special education classroom to assist students on their academic journeys.  Additionally, James visits the UT Childcare Center, where he interacts with children while they are playing freely.  James’ civic contributions extend beyond visiting local schools.  He also has been a part of Marathon Kids, Neighborhood Longhorns, Longhorn Halloween, the Marbridge Foundation, Orange Santa and LEAD of Austin, talking with seventh grade at-risk students about teamwork and leadership qualities.


James is a mid-season John R. Wooden Award list member and a preseason Naismith Award candidate. He is a three-year starter who has seen time at all three frontcourt positions prior to his senior season.  During his career, James has played in all 108 games, starting all but two.  He ranks 18th on the career UT scoring list with 1,306 points scored and is third on the UT career rebounding list with 968 to his name.  He enters the year just 110 rebounds shy of becoming the school’s all-time leading rebounder.  James is fourth in UT history with 37 career double-doubles and seventh with 123 career blocks.