Tragic news ... a top basketball recruit who was committed to play for Missouri State next season has died in an accidental shooting, TMZ Sports has confirmed.
19-year-old Ashley "A.J." James -- a 3-star prospect who had offers from Fresno State, Murray State and USF, among others -- was killed on Monday night in Chesapeake, Va., according to cops.
A police spokesperson tells us ... officers responded to an apartment just before midnight and found James with a gunshot wound "in the chest area" after he had allegedly been handling a firearm with another man when it accidentally went off.
The spokesperson says the basketball star received emergency medical care ... but later died from his injury. The spokesperson added foul play was NOT suspected.