Duke’s dynamic duo just turned into a terrific trio.
Justise Winslow announced Thursday afternoon at Houston St. John’s that he will play college basketball at Duke, joining his friends Jahlil Okafor and Tyus Jones in a blockbuster class for coach Mike Krzyzewski, who is familiar with all three players through his role with USA Basketball. The 6-foot-10 Okafor out of Chicago Whitney Young and the 6-2 Jones out of Apple Valley (MN) committed last week.
“Next year I will be attending Duke University to play for Coach K,” Winslow said.
The 6-foot-5 Winslow, ranked No. 14 in the Class of 2014 by ESPN.com and the reigning Texas Gatorade Player of the Year, also considered Arizona, UCLA, Florida and Texas A&M.
“He’s a multi-dimensonal player and his greatest asset is his versatility,” longtime New York recruiting expert Tom Konchalski told SNY.tv. “He’s very strong, he’s very athletic and he really stuffs the stat sheet. Down at the EYBL Finals at the Peach Jam he would have games with 19 or 21 points and he would have eight or nine or 10 rebounds, four or five assists and two or three steals.
“He can defend multiple positions, that makes him especially valuable. And the fact that he plays both ends of the court, makes him that much more effective.”
Winslow and Okafor teamed up this summer on the USA U19 team that won the World Championship. While Okafor and Jones seemed solid all along on playing together in college, Winslow hedged his bets, saying he had to do what’s best for him.
“I mean, it’s something we talk about,” Winslow told SNY.tv this summer of the potential package. “All three of us have to do what’s best for us, and if it just so happens that we all go to the same school, then that will be great.”
The Blue Devils now have one of the top wing players in the Class of 2014 to pair along with the best center in the class in Okafor and the best distributor in Jones.
According to DraftExpress.com , Duke now has the Nos. 1 (Okafor), 11 (Winslow) and 15 (Jones) players in the 2015 Draft.
They also add a shooter in Grayson Allen.
Duke could also return a core that includes Rodney Hood, Quinn Cook and Amile Jefferson.
Konchalski doesn’t rule out Diaper Dandy Jabari Parker returning to play with his former AAU teammate Okafor, either, even though he’s likely to be a top-3 pick.
“I know there are some people close to the father [Sonny Parker] who are telling people he’s definitely coming out this year,” he said. “But I think [Okafor] might lure him back for another year, and that’s a national championship, I think.
“There’s nothing guaranteed…But they could be a Final Four team this year — they don’t look like a national championship team, you never know — but next year if they had Okafor and Jabari, because the one thing they lack right now is an interior scoring presence and that’s what Okafor would give them. And Winslow would be another guy on the perimeter, a guy who could really defend.
“It’s more of a throwback to the Krzyzewski teams of the ’80s and early’90s, when they had tough kids and multi-positional players. It gives them an unbelievable recruiting class with those four kids.”
Photo: Chuck Liddy / NewsObserver.com