With family, friends, recruiters and basketball fans across the country eagerly awaiting news of his decision, senior Justise Winslow officially announced his commitment for basketball to Duke University.The five-star small forward officially signed a letter of intent, Nov. 19, and his choice was made public at a Nov. 21 press conference at SJS’s Liu Court.
“Coming from SJS, I wanted to go somewhere that’s a good academic institution, so most of my finalists had that aspect,” Winslow said. “I really wanted to go somewhere that had a family-feeling around the campus and join a team where I could feel comfortable.”
Winslow, whose defensive style has been compared to that of NBA player Ron Artest, will join fellow five-star recruits Jahlil Okafor, Tyus Jones and Grayson Allen to play under the Blue Devil’s head coach, Mike Krzyzewski.
“I think he made an excellent decision,” Coach Harold Baber said. “He had a lot of good schools to choose from and he thought Duke was the best choice for him.”
Before his official commitment announcement, Winslow acknowledged members of the SJS community, his family and all who helped him during his basketball career. In particular, Winslow thanked Beverly Mosby, a team mother for his first basketball team, for “inspiring a dream inside” of him.
“He’s matured over the years and become a great guy and a great friend,” senior J.T. Trauber said.
Trauber played on that first team, the Houston Jaguars, with Winslow and fellow senior Josh Hanson.
“It’s been pretty cool seeing him develop as a player,” Hanson said. “In third grade he was a lot taller than everyone. Now, he’s a lot taller and a lot better.”
Winslow is ranked 5th for his position (small forward) and 14th overall on ESPN’s Top 100 recruits for the Class of 2014. So far through his high school career, Winslow has scored 2,324 points and amassed 1,275 rebounds. In 2012, he played on the USA U17 basketball team, which captured gold in Lithuania. Last summer, he competed on the USA U19 team as one of only two high school basketball players among an impressive roster of collegiate stars.
“Lots of people see the good times but there have been hard times as well,” Winslow’s father, Rickie, said. “He has worked hard to get this far.”
Mr. Winslow played basketball for the University of Houston. He was drafted 28th overall by the Chicago Bulls in 1987 and went on to play professionally in Europe.
Winslow consulted his parents regarding his decision to play collegiate basketball.
“He wanted to be at a great academic institution just like SJS,” Mr. Winslow said. “Duke fits that mold.”
The Winslows see a bright future for him, both on and off the court.
“I expect things not so much in terms of basketball but in terms of leadership and perseverance,” Robin Davis, Winslow’s mother, said. “Basketball will take care of itself. I want him to grow from the foundation that he has had at SJS.”
For his classmates, who saw Winslow dunk for the first time in eighth grade and cheered as he led the Mavericks to two SPC championships, the decision was a culmination of his high school basketball accomplishments.
“I’m really proud of him and happy for him,” senior Abby Avery said. “I’m sure that Duke will provide him with great opportunities to grow. I can’t wait to see the person and basketball player he becomes.”
The Liu Court stands were packed with students and faculty, along with family and friends, to witness the announcement.
“Seeing his emotion made it hit closer to home,” senior Erin Haney said. “It’s great that the whole SJS community came out to see him. We’re really proud of him and wish him the best at Duke.”
Winslow received a standing ovation after announcing his decision.
“I couldn’t be prouder of Justise, even beyond basketball,” Athletic Director Vince Arduini said. “His statement before his decision spoke volumes to who he is as a young man and what SJS means to him. I’m really happy for him and his family, and I think he’s a great role model for young people.”
The Review Staff