Justise Winslow: I'm doing good now, just got a busy week ahead in school, Spring Break is next week so they are trying to pile everything on us this week. I'm in two AP courses, and I'm thinking about trying to get a four on the tests to get college credit. I'm taking AP English and AP Calculus.
Let's talk about the Kansas visit since you had that a few weekends ago, what were your general impressions?
Yeah I was on the visit with Tyus Jones and his family. We get along real well so it was fun and I hadn't seen him really since Elite 24 stuff, so it was good to spend time with him and his family and also with the KU Coaching Staff. It was good to build on the relationship there. The visit went really well and the environment in Allen Field house…I really enjoyed it.
What did you think of the song they sing before the game?
Yeah that was really cool. I really enjoy the traditions at different schools, especially ones like that that go way back in a school's history. Rock Chalk Jayhawk is a cool tradition. It was my second visit to Kansas, but the first time I really got to see a lot more. On my first visit, my flight got delayed really bad, so I ended up showing up right before the game and then had to leave right after, so I really didn't get a chance to spend time with the coaches the first time. That's why I wanted to do a second visit, to get a chance to actually spend time with the coaches.
With Tyus and his family on the visit, did you schedule the visit with them previously or did it just happen to be you two were visiting KU at the same time?
We both knew we were going to be there, and when we were there the coaches did a good job at separating us when it was necessary at different points in the visit. Then we did stuff together like watch practice and other stuff. I would say we were there together on the visit but we did do some stuff separately with the coaching staff, and we both knew we were going to be there and it was cool that Kansas set it up for us to be there together, knowing that we are good friends.
What kind of things did you and Tyus bring up in your conversations while you were together on the visit?
Just what kind of things we're looking for in a college, personal stuff like how his season's been going, what schools we like as we look forward to progressing in our recruiting processes.
What kind of things did you notice as you guys watched the team practice?
Well, the practice was more like a walk through before the game, the team had their jersey gear on. They like to run pick and roll which is good for Tyus and I, especially Tyus since he can really get out and create for others off pick and roll. They are thinking about using me like they use Ben McLemore, coming off ball screens and down screens with the ball in his hand so he can make plays, we both liked their style of play and their use of ball screens.
What did you think about the McLemore comparison?
I think we're the same in some ways, we're both athletic wings. He's a very good shooter and that's something I need to improve on. I'm a bit bigger than him body-wise, something I do that I think I use to my advantage is I use my size and athleticism to get into the lane, so that's something where I think we're different. He's more a knock down shooter, but we have similarities in some ways in how we play.
What's an ideal role for you in college--do you think you are more a 2 guard who will run off screens, have the ball in his hand, or are you more of a true 3--wing forward type role?
Most of the schools are they are looking to use me as a wing, not as much as a point guard, they want to have the ball in my hand. After watching practices and talking with coaches, the two or the three do some similar things at most schools, and the only thing that's different is who they guard. To me, there's not a real big difference at the college level between the positions. Teams see me as an interchangeable wing player.
What did you think of Kansas's style of play?
They were coming off a loss to TCU earlier in the season, so they came in and really jumped on them early this time, they got some uptempo plays and pushing the ball and getting dunks, I think I could flourish in an offense like that with my ability to get into the lane and make plays. It was good to see Coach Self get intense and into the game and into his players to try and get the best out of them.
What were the conversations like with Coach Self?
Really we spent a lot of time just talking personally, developing a relationship, and then we talked basketball. I really like his personality. It's just the way he thinks about the game, and I think he can really help me grow to a basketball player to the next level. We were starting to develop a good relationship before the visit and that's continuing after the visit now too.
Let's shift gears to the Duke visit--who did you travel with?
I went down there with my mom. She comes with me on all my visits, and we just hadn't been down there before so we felt it was necessary to come down and visit with the coaches, see them in person, and meet the players. That was some of the big purposes for the visit.
How were you feeling going into the visit?
In a way I was excited to get down there, but I was nervous too because I hadn't visited before. I really enjoyed myself on the visit, getting to see the campus was really nice, and getting to meet Coach K was great. He's one of the best coaches ever in the history of the game, I was excited for the visit.
Did you go in with a lot of questions you wanted answered or was it just going in with a blank slate?
I had some questions going in that I was hoping to get answered, but the Duke staff did a great job at answering the questions I had.
Stuff like style of play, how they would utilize me, the academic setup,and just what they would expect of me as a player. They did a great job at explaining to me what they expect of their players.
Were those questions you had going in--were they Duke specific or is that just standard stuff you like to find out about schools when you visit?
It's the same stuff I ask at all the schools, but they are also questions that had come up during the process since I hadn't had the opportunity to visit them. They did a great job at covering all my questions without me even having to ask.
Specifically, how did they address them in such an efficient manner?
I had quite a few meetings with Coach K and the staff over breakfast and other topcs. All were on campus, and we just had a lot of time around each other where they were honest with me and I was honest with them about how I felt about myself as a player, what their expectations are about the players in the program, what our feelings are about the recruiting process, academic side of things, how do they blend guys together in the program. I felt like it went really well with what we talked about.
Did you go into the visit feeling like you already had a strong relationship with the Duke staff, or did it need to be develeoped?
I felt going in like it was pretty strong, especially with Coach Capel, because I've known him for a long time. Coach K was busy with all the Duke and USA Stuff before, so I had talked to him some, but it was really good to go down to Duke and talk with Coach K and see how much he was interested in me and how they thought they could use me in their program, and how I'd be developed there. It was really good to develop that relationship with Coach K off the court.
What did Coach K say that really communicated how much he wanted you at Duke?
Just that I'm a top priority for them in 2014, and how much he likes my game. Also, how my versatility will help him use me in a variety of ways.
Did he compare you to anybody?
Yeah, to a couple of athletic wings, guys like Gerald Henderson.
What did you think of those comparisons?
The comparison was pretty good, though we aren't similar players in some ways. Still, it was a good comparison because we're both athletic players who play uptempo and get out and do different things. I liked that were similar Duke players who have been there before me.
Did your mom have a lot of questions?
She had a lot on the academic side of things. She believes the basketball stuff will take care of itself. It's a great academic setup there, and we got to meet with the Basketball Academic Advisor, Mr. King which was really great.
He seemed to know a lot about me, like with my transcripts and stuff, and I enjoyed that meeting. He had a plan kinda mapped out and he was showing me what he had done with guys in the past who had similar academic interests like me.
What did you think of the facilities?
Facilities were really nice, top of the line, most of them were brand new, and I liked it. I met with the trainers and strength coaches too.
What's your thoughts on the Duke depth chart?
The way we saw things, the Duke coaches think there will be a big vacancy in my class with guys they think will be gone by then, but they still think they will have some senior leaders there, so that was good to talk about.
How much did they talk about Rasheed?
They talked about him a lot. We're both similar players on and off the court. We're both from Houston, we're both athletic wing players, so that was good to talk about since we're similar players. I've talked with Rasheed about what people are saying about him potentially going pro early, and he just tells me it's so humbling to go through that kind of process and he just wants to be the best player that he can be. If the opportunity presents itself this year or next year where he and the staff feel comfortable with where he might go in the first round, depending on how things go, he might look at going, but if not, he's excited about coming back to play for Coach K and developing as a player.
How specific did they get with you from a role perspective based on other players that might be there?
They talked with me with about that and the other guards who might be there, they have a pretty good group of kids including a transfer, Rodney Hood, sitting out this year, and Jabari Parker coming in next year. Looks like they will have a pretty good team in the future.
What were your thoughts on the game and Cameron Indoor atmosphere?
The game was really great, really intense atmosphere, one of the best games I've seen so far this year.
How much does that environment affect your perspective as a recruit?
Honestly, it's a big deal. As a recruit you want to go to a place where basketball is big on campus and it doesn't get much bigger than Duke basketball, so being able to see Coach K get pumped up with the fans was cool to see how the coaches and players interact with the fans in that way.
It was a great environment just like other schools have great fan support. Schools like Kansas and North Carolina, it helps them in their recruitment when they have big time fan support like that. It's sorta in the middle for my consideration because you do want to go to a place where you get the fan support that you feel like you and the team deserve, where the fans go crazy, but there's bigger things than that. You gotta play for the right coach, you gotta feel comfortable, it's gotta be the fit for you.
Wrapping up the visit--how did it come together?
We had breakfast Sunday morning on campus, and we got to talk about the game and how excited they were about it. We also talked some more about how much they wanted me in the Duke program and how excited they are about March Madness coming up and looking forward to making a deep run in the tournament.
Where does this visit put them in your evaluation now?
I think it puts them up there highly because I've had the chance now to see Durham and the campus. Every visit you see new stuff, and it helped raise my interest level.
Finishing up, I'm trying to get a good grip on my recruiting, and working to cut my list down more after I finish my visits. I'd like to finish my recruiting up sometime soon, because it would be nice to be a high school student. I have one more visit coming up, possibly two. I'm looking at Arizona and possibly Texas A&M. Schools are still making an impression on me and my family, so I won't cut anything down until i've had a chance to finish my visits and sit down with my family to figure out what places I want to do official visits too.
What do you mean about final impressions?
Just right now it's a big recruiting time since we're getting close to the end of when schools can have kids on campus for visits before the season is done, and there's really only one more weekend left. There's a lot of schools trying to get kids on campus right now to see a game. I don't plan on visiting any schools during the spring. Probably by end of the summer I should know I'm really thinking about and I'll start setting up official visits.
How much are you talking with Tyus and Jahlil about playing together?
That's something that definitely came up for conversation when I was visiting Kansas with Tyus when we were talking. I really value our relationship on and off the court, and being able to go with those two guys, we have to do what's best for all of us. It's a possibility for all of us to play together, I know for Tyus and Jahlil, they are saying it's definitely going to happen, but for me, I have to think about what's best for me and my family. There are schools that we all have common interest in and who have interest in all three of us.
Which schools are those?
There's quite a few that are like that but I don't want to say who they are just yet. We don't really know what we're going to do yet, so we're just keeping it to ourselves and keeping it quiet right now.