MDAA: Winslow prides himself on defense

Being a McDonald's All-American is a great feeling for Houston-native and 6-foot-6 wing Justise Winslow. The lefty is ultra-competitive, talented and a really good defender and he's had a solid week of practices for the McDonald's All-American game.

TDD met with Justise Winslow on Tuesday at the McDonald's All-American media day and spoke with the senior on what making the McDonald's game means for Justise. The senior will be following in his father's footsteps as Ricky Winslow went to Houston as a Burger Boy in 1983.

"It's been surreal. Really being a dream of mine since I was younger, with my Dad (Ricky Winslow, '83) being a McDonald's All-American, a little pressure on me. But it's been a dream for me," Winslow told TDD. "When the teams were announced it didn't really hit me but then it kind of hit me when we were trying on our tuxedo and getting our tuxes fitted. My biggest dreams had just come true. So it's been a great week with the Ronald McDonald House and bowling and the practices and just getting to know some of the girls, hanging with some of the guys, it's been a great experience so far. It's definitely something I'll remember for the rest of my life."

Winslow has enjoyed playing with his class of players and the senior believes that the class of 2014 has a lot of talented players.

"The class is great. The class before us had a lot of those elite guys, but I think this class is great too. We just have to continue to work and push each other and compete because I think that is the best way we're going to get better and that's to push each other. It's fun to be playing with these top players and competing," Winslow said.

As has been echoed by his Duke teammates, Winslow has really enjoyed spending time with his three future teammates in the game as well.

"It's great. What we did in the dunk contest I think is special and unique and something nobody else has ever done just by including everybody. It was Grayson's moment. Grayson did a great job and he deserves it," Winslow said of the week with future Duke teammates. "Just being on the same team with Tyus, it just makes everything easier. With my high school team I had the ball a lot but with Tyus I can give it to him and run up the floor and get it back and finish. It's great getting easy baskets from him. Playing with a true point guard like him is great. And then with Jahlil and Grayson, Grayson allows us to space the floor and Jahlil will get us easy baskets off double teams. It'll be fun with the guys next year and the guys coming back from Duke. I think we're going to be able to make a push to go far."

Justise also believes his class can come in and make a big difference playing at Duke next season.

"I think they fit in great. I think something that they lacked this year was leadership and I think I can come in and be a vocal leader. I can help out on the defensive end and just help with a balanced attack scoring. I think with the offense this year the scoring came on the shoulders of Jabari and Rodney. So if Jabari comes back or he doesn't come back I'm hoping we can be more balanced (either way). He can get his shots but he can spread the floor a little bit more and keep everybody happy."

In his recent conversations with the Duke coaching staff, Winslow already is looking to fill his role within the team. Winslow has a lot of things he's working on heading into his freshman season.

"Coach K has already told me what I need to do when I set my foot in Cameron Indoor so I'm just going to try and fill my role as best as possible and try to help the team win," Winslow said. "They told me (to work on) ball handling, I'll probably handle the ball a little bit. Shooting and attacking off the bounce. Floaters in the lane; things like that. But really, when we talk it's about relationships and keeping that strong bond with all of his players and coaches. It's a really tight-knit group and that's what I like about them."

Justise will play with the East Team and Tyus Jones against Jahlil Okafor, Grayson Allen and the West Team on Wednesday night at the United Center in Chicago.

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