Posted On: 06/12/19 11:53 AM
Kentucky’s top ranked Senior made his commitment decision last Friday when he committed to the Auburn Tigers and coach Bruce Pearl. I caught up with Justin this week to discuss why he chose the Tigers, how he’ll recruit others to join him and the potential to be named Mr. Basketball in 2020.
PHKY: What drew you to Auburn?
JP: The family atmosphere they have created and preach. They always preach that they are a family and you can really see that the second you step on campus.
PHKY: What’s the biggest appeal of being a part of Tiger basketball?
JP: The biggest appeal is playing under one of the best coaches to do it. Coach Pearl looks after his players better than anyone I have seen. The pace they play at fits my game and it’s a fun system to play in. Also playing in the SEC, one of the best conferences in college is really cool.
PHKY: Obviously Auburn plays a fun system on offense. How do you see yourself fitting in as a freshman? How do you hope to see your role evolve over the course of your career?
JP: They said there is a lot of room to play at that guard position coming in as a freshmen. I’m just going to do whatever they need me to do. Coach talked about me coming in and making an impact right away by coming off screens and running me around screens to hit some big shots. I hope to eventually be that go to guy like Bryce Brown was this past year and hit some big shots and have the ultimate green light.
PHKY: You decided to commit before the July evaluation period. Do you plan to try and recruit some future teammates while you’re at the Peach Jam (Justin plays with Spiece Indy Heat)?
JP: Definitely. I’ve already been working on some of the kids I know that they are recruiting. I think we are close on a few of them but I’m going to put my hard sell on them at Peach Jam for sure
PHKY: You came back from Montverde and are at North Oldham now. What are your expectations for your Senior season playing at a new school and in a new region?
JP: Just to still go out there and play my normal game, nothing changes. I knew the head coach (David Levitch) and I grew up with all of these kids so it was an easy transition. I expect the region to be hard but I think we have a good chance to win the region. We will have to take it game by game but the expectations are going to be pretty high on us this year.
PHKY: You’re mentioned frequently as a top candidate for Mr Basketball in 2020. What would it mean to you to win the award?
JP: It would mean everything. As a kid you see kids you looked up to winning the award and you think hopefully one day you can do the same thing. Especially in a basketball state like KY it means everything. Something every kid in the state wants and it is a dream for me to get it.