USA Camp: One on one with Justise Winslow

Justise Winslow

He's one of the youngest players at Team USA's U-19 training camp, and yet Justise Winslow has played his way into the final 16, with a very good shot at making the final roster. TDD spoke with the five star prospect about that, his recruiting process, and much more.

How are you feeling now that you have made it through the first cut at the USA Basketball Camp?

Justise Winslow: It feels great, and it really takes some of the pressure off. Overall, I would say it feels really great making the first cut knowing the good players here. I just gotta keep working hard and hope I can make the second cut.

How have you found competing against the college players in the camp?

It's definitely really different. From AAU and High school ball, it's a lot different playing them and it's definitely helped me get bigger, faster, stronger by playing them and it'll help me at the next level.

How does your previous USA Basketball experience help you at this camp?

I think it definitely does help, with coaches like Coach Billy Donovan, Coach Smart and Coach Bennett, they all coach at the next level which is where I'm trying to go, so I'm going to try and pick up from them and play to the best of my ability.

The recent visits to Duke, UCLA and Arizona…did you go because you because you had unanswered questions about each school, or was it more to firm up how you already felt about each program?

Well, with UCLA I went out because I had never actually met Coach Alford and his new coaching staff, so that was the main point in going there. With Duke, the coaching staff really wanted me to get to know some of the guys better with the players and with Coach Scheyer since he's new there and that was pretty much why they asked me to come. With Arizona, they just wanted me to get familiar with some of the incoming freshman like Ronde and guys like Aaron Gordon who are coming back that I might potentially be playing with.

How would you say you feel about the relationship between you and Coach Alford coming out of the visit?

I definitely would say that things have improved because we got to spend some quality time together, me and the coaching staff, so I went out there really to see Coach Alford and spend time with him.

How comfortable would you say you feel now with the situation at UCLA as opposed to prior to meeting Coach Alford?

Well before I was comfortable with it with the previous staff, but now, it's something different, it's something I have to look at and compare to see how I feel about it to other schools. But I'd definitely say things went well with the visit.

Now that the relationship has grown with the new staff at UCLA, are they still a serious consideration for you in your recruitment?

UCLA was serious before the visit, and now pretty much I'm taking everybody serious. Everybody who is on my list, I'm looking at them as a serious option.

There was conjecture that going into your Duke and UCLA visits, both schools had ground to be made up in your recruitment, do you think you agree or disagree with that assessment?

I would disagree with that just because UCLA had ground to make up just simply because it's a new coaching staff there. I don't really think they had ground to make up because I had the in-home visit with them and things are going great, I just took the visit to meet with Coach Alford and his staff.

Let's talk Arizona, do you feel like the relationship you have with Coach Miller is more than just a player/coach relationship due to the length of your relationship?

Yeah in some ways it is but it's the same thing with many other coaches across the country who are recruiting me. Coach Miller was one of the first coaches and programs to come out and recruit me, so there's definitely a pretty decent relationship there. But that's the thing with all the coaches pretty much on your list.

Do you feel like you have unanswered questions with any of the schools on your list?

I do. If I didn't have any questions left I probably would have been committed by now, but I'm just trying to take myself through the process and get the answers so I can commit as soon as possible.

What kind of questions do you have and are they directed at specific schools?

They are just various questions that I have that are different for each program. It's something that I have to sit down with my family and try to answer about each program.

Is the official visit to Baylor at the end of August still a possibility with Tyus and Jahlil?

I need to discuss that with my parents before we decide and I need to get through this USA Basketball experience and then probably after Peach Jam and all that is when I'll sit down with them to figure it out.

Do you think there's a need in your mind for more visits to schools before the decision?

I don't know because I've been to every school on my list unofficially, but at the same time if I'm not decided by then, then I'll sit down with my family and decide if I need to take more visits. I don't really know how that timeline is going to happen.

How much does the presence of Andrew Wiggins at Kansas and Jabari Parker at Duke affect your evaluation of those two programs in your recruitment?

Well, it definitely shows their ability to get top talent and that they are top programs because of that, but a lot of programs have big time wings like that around the country. but it does help a little bit.

Jahlil had a tweet awhile back about you potentially joining him and Tyus to play together in college, but wouldn't that mean your timelines have to be somewhat similar in some regard?

We've talked about it, but we haven't talked about when we're going to decide or how we're going to do anything. The thing with Tyus and Jahlil is that they are pretty set on going to school together, and I've talked with them about it but I have to do what's best for me and they each have to do what's best for them, so if we decide to go play together it would be great, but we have to do what's best for each other and our families.

Jahlil had mentioned that you were really helpful in his narrowing down process to 8 schools, how did you try to help him with that?

It was really me sharing what I know about certain programs about how they use their big men and where he might be successful just going off of history, things like that. Jahlil and I are close friends and we really value each other's opinions.

What sparked your interest in deciding to go back and visit Duke again unofficially?

Really it was just Coach K wanting me to get to know the coaching staff and the guys better because that's something that's really important, is the relationships you have with the players before you even get to the school.

What did you and Coach K and Coach Capel talk about in your time with them?

Just really how my season is going and how I can continue improving and how I could be used as a player in their system. We talked about how they can improve me as a player too.

Was there any discussion from them asking for a commitment?

Yeah, but pretty much every school at this point does that, and there would be something wrong if they weren't. I've always told myself that I would decide when I want to, I just have to keep going through the process.

How would you classify your relationship with Coach K now?

It feels pretty good, we have a pretty great relationship, he's definitely a great coach, and it's something I really think is pretty great. He's been out here at the camp the past couple of days getting to coach us a little bit through some of the drills and stuff, so I have a pretty good relationship with Coach.

How would you characterize your relationship with Coach K now when compared to the other coaches recruiting you?

I would say they are all the same.

How much of a concern do you have relative to the depth charts at the schools recruiting you, is that something you pay attention to?

At this point, I really think I can play with any wing in the country, so that's not something I'm concerned about.

In College-do you want to play more of a true 2 guard role or more of a true wing forward/3 role?

Definitely a scoring guard role because of my size and skill set. In college, that's where I'm going to play. But I'll need to continue working on my skills because if I'm able to reach the NBA, that's where I'm going to be playing.

Do you have any schools that are recruiting you as a 3, or are they all saying you can be a 2 in their systems?

A lot of schools, a wing is the same thing as a guard. They are really interchangeable, and they are recruiting me to be a wing which can be a 2 or a 3 in their offense, they are pretty much the same thing.

Are there schools recruiting you in your estimation who do the best job at preparing guys at your position for the pros?

Not really. I mean some coaches have a history, you can see their ability to develop wings, but I think most of the schools on my list have been able to do that.

How big a deal is a school's track records in developing wings and putting guys in the pros relative to your decision?

Definitely, that's something I want to do, so I've looked into that.

How do you see your decision happening--will it be a big ESPN press conference or more low key?

I haven't decided yet, it's something I'll have to sit down with my family and talk about, but I don't know if I'm going to have a big press conference or just do a twitter announcement.

Who will be the primary voices helping you with your decision?

Definitely it's going to be my family and some of my extended family.

Is there likely going to be another cut down of the list before the final decision?

Yeah definitely, or probably is a better word. It will probably be cut down to six or so. Sometimes I think about it while I'm here but I try not to so I can focus on what I'm doing here and making the team.

The general media conjecture is that you could be seeing the finish line in your recruitment, but it sounds like you're a bit further from that than most think. So, how would you classify yourself with regards to all that?

I really don't know at this point. With recruiting, it's something you just have to think about, and when it just feels right. With everything, I don't know if it's going to be tomorrow or November or the Spring signing period. I just have no idea when that feeling will hit.

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