Posted On: 05/9/17 4:20 PM
With all the talk about the bad things that AAU can do, we’re quick to forget that it gives kids from smaller schools and areas an opportunity to show they can play with anyone. That was the case for Latrell Winkey, who showed up and showed out in Pittsburgh with Virginia Elite.
The 5’10” point guard first caught our attention when we heard about a kid who averaged 28 points per game at a small private school in Charlottesville called Tandem School. I was still a little skeptical because I had never seen Tandem School play, but after watching him hit eight free throws to seal a win for them over PYO, I knew there was something to this kid.
“That’s one of my favorite game situations to be in,” Winkey said. “I want the ball in my hands with a chance to close the game out and put the icing on the cake.”
That kind of mentality is what allows Winkey to be so successful no matter what team he’s on. He followed up that win with a 26 point outing in a close loss in which he hit seven three-pointers. While some may think he won’t be as much of a scoring threat on a group like VA Elite coming from Tadem School, he can fill it up at an efficient rate, and Head Coach Thomas Gadson isn’t going away from his strengths just because he comes from a small school.
While his role may differ, Winkey’s found success by simply doing what he’s asked to the best of his ability.
“I can’t be on the ball all the time like I am at Tandem,” Winkey said about his transition with VA Elite. “It’s okay though because I don’t mind running the two, and coach wants me to shoot a lot so I’m getting good shots, where as at Tandem I have to bring the ball up the floor, dictate the tempo and be a floor general.”
“The biggest thing is the change of the tempo,” Winkey continued. “This is a much faster tempo because Tandem is a smaller school, but it’s all about knowing your role and doing it well.”
Despite playing at such a small school, Winkey isn’t completely unknown to college coaches. He has received interest from D2 WV Wesleyan and ODAC programs such as Virginia Wesleyan and Eastern Mennonite recruiting him as well.
While he isn’t the most recruited player in the world, he still is taking the right steps to prepare himself to play at the next level.
“My goal is to get bigger, first and foremost. I’m trying to get looks from colleges so I’m trying to get my body right, play at an uptempo pace and keep my academics right because that’s most important for a student-athlete.”
As for why he thinks college coaches should recruit him, he had a short and simple answer for that.
“I’m unselfish, I can shoot the ball and I can make plays for others.”
If he continues to play at a high level throughout the summer, Winkey could emerge from the mountains as a serious sleeper candidate to small schools across the area.