Justise Winslow is the latest 5-star recruit to commit to Duke.
Winslow, a 6-foot-5, 208-pound small forward from Houston St. John’s, chose Duke over UCLA, Arizona, Stanford, Texas A&M and Florida. He is ranks as the 14th-best player in the Class of 2014, according to ESPN. Winslow’s strength is his defense, as he can guard multiple positions thanks to his lateral quickness. His athleticism extends above the rim, as he first dunked in eighth grade, his high school coach, Harold Baber, said at his announcement.
“The thing about Justise is he can impact the game in so many ways,” said Evan Daniels, a recruiting analyst for Scout.com. “He’s not necessarily a great scorer, but he does everything else. He rebounds, he defends, he’s a good passer. Most importantly, he wins. He’s a tremendous athlete. He’s got this well-balanced all-around game.
“Like I said, he’s never going to be accused of being a big-time scorer, but he does pretty much everything else on the basketball floor at a pretty high level.”
This summer, Winslow was a part of the United States U19 team that won the FIBA World Championships in Prague, Czech Republic, along with fellow Duke commit Jahlil Okafor and current Blue Devil Rasheed Sulaimon. Winslow and Okafor were the only rising high school seniors on the squad.
Winslow is the third five-star recruit to pledge the Blue Devils in the past week. The top overall prospect, Okafor, a center, and top point guard, Tyus Jones (No. 4 overall) both announced their commitments simultaneously on ESPNU last Friday.
“Duke has always had a big-time name, but they really put a lot of effort in time into these three kids,” Daniels said. “Okafor and Jones, they hitched their wagon to those guys. Getting Winslow to go with them, that’s the cherry on the top. You have to look at these guys to be the favorite to win the national title next year.”
A factor that can’t be overlooked in Duke’s recruiting recruiting success, Daniels said, is the impact of assistant coach Jeff Capel, who joined the staff prior to the 2011-12 seasons. Capel was the point man, Daniels said, for recent Duke recruits Rodney Hood, Jabari Parker, Okafor, Jones and Winslow.
“He’s played a major role,” Daniels said of Capel. “He’s established relationships with a lot of these elite kids. Obviously Coach K is the one that has to go in and seal the deal, but Jeff Capel does a lot of the groundwork. He’s a tremendous asset, and I think he’ll be getting a head job in the near future.”
Winslow, Okafor and Jones are joined by 5-star shooting guard Grayson Allen (No. 24 overall) in the Blue Devils 2014 recruiting class, which is currently ranked No. 1 in the nation by Scout and Rivals (ESPN had it at No. 2 before the Winslow announcement, behind Kentucky). Center Myles Turner, rated No. 2 overal by ESPN, is the lone recruit left on the board that has had contact with Duke, and he won’t decide until the spring. As it stands now, the four-man class of 2014 will be among the most heralded in Duke history when they arrive on campus.