, 6’4″, WG/WF, 2018. Landon Bears HS
Grassroots Team: VA Elite
We are very impressed with Justin on many levels & he is a D1 mid major recruit who is flying under the radar. He is an excellent athlete who can
play multiple positions with a very diversified skill set. When we evaluate players it is very important to understand their complete player history & many times their life history. This is the case for Justin who missed his entire freshmen with an injury. When he was at practice Justin was performing a drill when he was coming to a stop his knee gave out & he suffered a knee injury. Justin was not required to have surgery, but he rested his knee & when cleared began his rehab process which cost him the season. In his sophomore Justin suffered a major sinus infection & lost 15 pounds in 2 weeks, then battled an assortment on injuries all season, partially caused by his sinus recovery.
Last year was Justin’s 1st full year playing basketball & he was forced to play out of position as PF/C. With his excellent attitude, Justin played with great leadership ,intensity & sacrificed for Landon. He averaged 7 points, & 10 rebounds per game, approximately 4 assists & 2 plus blocks per game. Justin impacted the game without scoring, making deflection, setting screens hockey assist passes & energizing Landon going to the floor for loose balls. This summer playing for Virginia Elite, he scored 17 points per game for a very strong team. Justin is looking forward to this season & says, “This year will be a very good opportunity for me because I am very healthy & strong & I am determined to play another full season & take my game up another level.”
Each morning Justin must arise at 5:45 to begin his hour long journey from Bowie, MD to the prestigious Landon School in Bethesda. MD. This is very big sacrifice just adding to Justin’s wonderful persona who adds”I love Landon academically & for basketball. I am excelling in both areas & I am looking forward to this season.” The Bears play in the powerful 6 team Interstate Athletic Conference or IAC which could be the 2nd best conference in DC /DMV behind the WCAC, whom I consider the nations best. Additionally, the MAC & Capital Beltway must be mentioned as top tier Conferences in the DC/DMV & it will be a tough call at the end of the 2017/18 season to conclude which Conference is the 2nd best.
When players play out of position, many times they do not get the recognition they deserve. However, watching Landon last season we could easily envision Justin playing WG in college at a high level. His movement is very smooth yet quick & explosive. While Justin played predominately in the paint he can lead the fast break off the dribble, finishing at the rim with an explosive dunk or drop off. When he flashes out to the perimeter, Justin displays a very fundamental picture perfect jumper. He can shoot off the dribble & has an excellent mid range pull-up. Justin can score from the triple threat having developed very quick & effective jab step. He the can execute a hesitation & go off the 1st or 2nd dribble & reach the rim with a very quick burst & long strides. Justin easily passes the looks test @ 6’4″ 190, with a very long wingspan & lean muscular frame allowing him to finish thru contact. He adds,”Playing inside has allowed to me develop post up & power moves to the rim with both hands. It has helped my overall game & this summer I played WG for Virginia Elite. This season I will have more of a SF role for Landon, but I will still use my post up skills.” Another strong area for Justin are his fast ball movement & facilitation skills. With his high iq & court vision Justin can deliver superb passes that many other player can not see or posses the ability to execute.
When an opposing players are going to the rim on a fast break, Justin can run them down rejecting their shot a la Lebron James. He is an excellent on ball defender with very good lateral movement with quickness & strength to go over or thru screens. Depending on the scenario, Justin will snare rebounds out of mid air using his athleticism or positioning & boxing out. In the half court he can protect the rim & block shots. Justin has great instincts, a nose for the ball & will make plays in traffic. Throughout the game there is never any wasted motion in his game & Justin makes very quick & correct decisions. After he makes his play Justin is already onto the next.
With his great work ethic & desire to improve, Justin works on his game 6-7 days a week. Since the end of Landon’s season we asked Justin how his game has improved to the current, He says, “I am faster, quicker, more explosive, and stronger in my upper & lower body. My shooting is more consistent & my ball-handling speed has gotten better. I can change speeds better & my handle is more compact with improved change of direction. Since the year ended I have developed a cross over between the legs.” Justin’s workouts are very intense throughout the week where he incorporates strength & conditioning, plyos which include resistance band training & jumping rope. He has integrated swimming & water aerobics into his exercise routine & Justin has always maintained his aerobic conditioning with running & playing 5 on 5 pickups during the off season. Always wanting to improve, Justin sets short term goals while maintaining his long term, & adds, “Currently I am working to improve my isolation moves & creating space off the dribble. I continue to work on my overall ball-handling in addition to my fist step explosion. I am putting up 300 to 500 shots per day & I have worked with Coach Joe Dobbs over the summer who has helped me a lot. Over the summer I worked out with my Trainer Hanif Hill on overall basketball skills.”
In the classroom Justin maintains an excellent 3.3 GPA & plans in major in Biology in college. He names his parents & uncle as his role model. We will be covering Landon this season with live game reports & player articles & looking forward to watching Justin’s progress.