Cal commit Justice Sueing's name traces its origins to the Vietnam War

From NBA 2K to French toast, and from unknown to (soon-to-be) four-star commit, we go in-depth with new Cal basketball pledge Justice Sueing.

Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei forward Justice Sueing started his senior year of high school without a single scholarship offer. He didn't have a high-major offer until December, 2016. Patience, it would seem, pays off. In's next rankings update, the newest addition to California's 2017 recruiting class will be a four-star, held in the same esteem as his classmates -- signees Jemarl Baker and Juhwan Harris-Dyson.

About two weeks after Sueing hauled in his Cal offer in mid-January, he got a call from Baker. The four-star wing out of Corona (Calif.) Roosevelt knew Sueing was headed to Berkeley for a visit. He wanted to prime the pump. The intro was easy: I'm hopefully your future teammate, and you're taking a visit, so let's chat. "That's pretty much what he said," Sueing said. "He said, 'You'll love it,' and he looked forward to playing with me next year. He wanted to play with me next year. He's definitely a good player.

"I'm really excited to play with those two [Baker and Harris-Dyson], get better and show the Pac-12 what we're about."

Baker and Sueing have been on opposite sides of the bracket in several tournaments this year, but haven't crossed paths, but Baker's reputation precedes him.

"He's a great player, and it'll be fun next year," Sueing said. "I talked to Jemarl a few times, and before I went on the visit, he told me that I'd love it. We just talked, as players, about what we can do, and the big picture for next year."

Sueing didn't go into his official visit a week ago thinking about committing. Sueing is a young man who cares about the little things, and the Bears did all the little things right.

"I didn't know what I was going to do, honestly, as far as going into the visit, but after the Stanford game, and just what my family and the coaches talked about, as far as how our mindsets were so similar, and what they see me doing, I just couldn't turn it down," he said. "It was a really good fit for me -- the school, the people and everything else about it. It's great."

So too, were his future teammates. Sueing bonded with his two hosts -- Charlie Moore and Dontae Coleman -- during the trip.

"They're just some real cool dudes," he said. "They welcomed me in, showed me around, really told me what the place was about. I look forward to playing with them next year, especially with the relationship that we built over just that weekend. We went and ate out a couple times, saw the scenery -- they showed me around the campus -- and we were at their apartment, playing 2K."

A video game aficionado (particularly the NBA 2K series), Sueing challenged Moore to a game: Sueing's preferred side, the Cleveland Cavaliers, against Moore and the Boston Celtics.

"I had to hand Charlie the L," Sueing laughed. "I had to do it. I don't know if he wants to go public with it, but I had to."


Sueing doesn't remember the first time he handed his father, also named Justice (they have different middle names), his first L in driveway one-on-one. The elder Sueing starred at Hawaii in the mid-1990s, then went on to a career overseas. He still looks like he can play, and his son confirmed that assessment. "Oh, my pops, he's definitely a player," Sueing said. "He can still play. He always wants me to play with him on the court. He's a good match-up for me go to against."

The elder Sueing never let his son win. He always had to earn it, just like he earned his late recruiting attention.

"It's always been like that," Sueing said. "He always pushes me, always tries to out-smart me, and he's not going to give up easy. He's not going to let me win."

The elder Sueing chose to honor his father, Arizona native Otis Sueing, by naming his son Justice, as well, but there was no vanity involved.

"My dad's name is Justice, and my aunty's name is Freedom," the younger Sueing explained. "My grandpa was in the Vietnam War, so when he named them, that's where that came from."

Berkeley's history of social justice, and it's culture, played a large role in the Sueing family's assessment of the school over the official visit weekend.

"My dad really liked it up there. We went up there earlier for [a visit to] St. Mary's, and he just liked the whole area, and the whole atmosphere," Sueing said. "Cal, it's just different. The diversity and culture up there is really intriguing. I know he loved it, and I know my mom was already in love with the school, just it being Cal-Berkeley. It was a great visit.

"Saturday, we got there early in the morning, and we went around the school, and talked to a lot of the people. They gave us a great feeling for the whole school, what they're about. On Sunday, we watched the Stanford game, and that was a really good atmosphere. Everyone there was really into it. It was a really tight community. Monday, we finished things off with breakfast, and I was on my way back to Mater Dei."


On Monday morning, Jan. 30, in the middle of his Claremont Hotel breakfast of French toast and hash browns, Sueing decided. He was going to commit. But, he wanted to wait, just a bit. So, on the car ride back to the airport, as he and his parents -- Justice and Jennifer -- were readying to fly back home, he told Martin that he wanted to be a Golden Bear. "Coach Cuonzo, he was really excited," Sueing said. "He was really into it. He believes in me, and he thinks I can be a great player, and hopefully at the next level. All the coaching staff is really excited for me, and so am I, so I'm ready to get at it next year."

While his father played power forward for the Rainbow Warriors, Sueing is slated to be a wing when he gets to Berkeley, like his father played during his career overseas. However, the younger Sueing should gain about another inch of altitude (to 6-foot-8) before he hits the court at Haas Pavilion. Right now, he's 6-foot-7, 210 pounds.

"I think next year, I'll be playing a lot of wing," said Sueing. "I'm very versatile, so I can guard multiple positions, and I can be used wherever on the floor. I think the wing is where I'm going to be playing at, a lot.

"Cal's a really good situation for me, and between the coaching staff and the people I'd be around, I think they'll really help me excel in my game, as well as bring me to the next level that I want to be at. It was a good look." Top Stories