Born in Warrenton Virginia, James began playing lacrosse when he was seven. He attended Kettle Run High School and was a 4-year Letterman and 3-year starter for the lacrosse team. He currently holds the state record for most saves in a single game. He attended Randolph College, graduating in only three years with a Bachelors of Art in Business. All three years he played on their Division III lacrosse team under Andrew Sinclair. He is not the only lacrosse player in the family as his brother attended Virginia Military Institute and played on their Division I lacrosse team for all 4 years and is currently a pilot in the United States Air Force.