Prior to the start of his junior year, James appeared in SLAM Magazine and writer Ryan Jones lauded him as possibly "the best high school basketball player in America right now". During the season, he appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated, becoming the first high school basketball underclassman to do so. :104 With averages of 29 points, 8. 3 rebounds, 5. 7 assists, and 3. 3 steals per game, he was again named Ohio Mr. Basketball and selected to the USA Today All-USA First Team, and became the first junior to be named boys' basketball Gatorade National Player of the Year. :117 St. Vincent-St. Mary finished the year with a 23–4 record, ending their season with a loss in the Division II championship game. :114 Following the loss, James unsuccessfully petitioned for a change to the NBA's draft eligibility rules, which required prospective players to have at least a high school diploma, in an attempt to enter the 2002 NBA draft. During this time, he used marijuana, which he said was to help cope with the stress that resulted from the constant media attention he was receiving.