CHARLOTTE – Justise Winslow is a machine. The Houston native is here for the USBA Boys National Championships, and he’s slotted for a 30 minute Q&A session in a ballroom full of teenagers and parents looking for any kernel of knowledge from Winslow that could give them that extra edge. An hour later, and Winslow is still answering every question the kids have.
From what he thinks his NBA 2K18 rating will be when the game drops in October (78, though he thinks it should a bit higher) to who’s the hardest person he’s guarded in the NBA (Gordon Hayward), no subject is taboo for Winslow.
“[Hayward] doesn’t waste movement,” Winslow says. “He’s not a guy who will sit out there and pound the ball or do all these crossovers, he’s getting right down to what he is trying to do. There’s no wasted dribbles, no wasted movements. He’s super skilled and his game is simple in a good way. He’s not doing anything extra, you always gotta be ready.”
Then it’s off from the ballroom to the tournament floor, where he’ll be taking pictures for another hour, but his route to the MET-Rx booth – a brand he’s been using for years but only recently made formal with an official partnership – however is cluttered by kids wanting to take selfies with Winslow.
He stops, takes a couple and keeps on moving to the photo booth for more selfies, and more pictures with young players who all someday are dreaming of being the next Justise Winslow. The line to take selfies is the second biggest gathering in the entire building. The largest, of course, is LeBron James sitting down courtside to watch his sons play a game.
The photo session also runs long, as entire USBA youth teams want to take pictures with Winslow to mark this occasion. Kids want Winslow to autograph their shoes or shirts, and some kids have nothing and are left asking him to sign a Starbucks napkin. Now it’s off to the interview, as an even bigger crowd follows him up the escalator for more selfies, more questions and more autographs. This time, the crowd is so big that the MET-Rx folks have a hard time holding them off, primarily because the former Duke star stops and talks to each and every single one of them until they left.
When he gets into the interview room, he pauses for a second, then finally gets his bearings.
Winslow starts off mentioning that the shoulder he injured in January is totally healed and he’s fully cleared to start the season in October. Winslow, who only missed four games in his rookie campaign, only played in 18 last season. The shoulder injury was the first major injury in his career.