Justise Winslow, a 6-foot-5, 208-pound small forward from Houston,TX chose Duke over UCLA, Arizona, Stanford, Texas A&M and Florida on Thursday. He ranks as the 14th-best player in the Class of 2014, according to ESPN. 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. As of right now the Blue Devils have sealed 3 of the top 10 players in the country. The Blue Devils also have a commitment from Grayson Allen, a 6-foot-4 shooting guard from Florida, ranked No. 30 in the 247Sports rankings. Unless there is a major surprise in the spring, Duke will end up with the No. 1 recruiting class in the country.
One of the biggest package deals in the history of college basketball recruiting just got a little bigger. Justise Winslow committed to the Duke Blue Devils on Thursday, announcing his decision at a ceremony at Houston St. John. The No. 14 prospect in the ESPN 100, Winslow committed to Duke over Arizona, Florida,Stanford, Texas A&M and UCLA, giving the Blue Devils the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class. “The tradition, what Coach K has done, what we can do in the future,” Winslow said about why he committed. “I loved the family environment on the official visit. It just felt right.”
Winslow’s decision comes less than one week after the nation’s No. 1 prospect, center Jahlil Okafor, and No. 4 prospect, point guard Tyus Jones, committed to the Blue Devils. Since that time, Jones, Okafor and even Okafor’s father have all been publicly campaigning for Winslow to join them in Durham next season. The trio’s relationship is rooted in their collective experiences with USA Basketball. They helped the U17 team to a gold medal in the summer of 2012 and this summer Okafor and Winslow were again gold medalists with the U19 team that won in Prague. It was out of those collective experiences that the idea of adding Winslow to what was once a two-man package deal with Okafor and Jones was first born. The potential for the trio to make a joint decision first became public this summer and only intensified in recent months, especially when they took a joint official visit to Duke in late October.
Now, the trio joins No. 24 Grayson Allen to not only give Duke the nation’s top-ranked recruiting class, but also potentially one of the best classes during coach Mike Krzyzewski’s tenure at the school. “I am very comfortable being around and playing with Jahlil and Tyus,” Winslow said. “And I don’t know Grayson as well but we follow each other on Twitter and I know Coach K only recruits good players and people. I am very excited about what we can do.” The group doesn’t just distinguish itself with its talent, but also because the three players project to be such a good fit together next year, with each player filling a clear role.
Jones is a pure point guard and a highly intelligent floor general who will run the show. Okafor is a potentially dominant low-post scorer who Duke will be able to play around in the half-court. Allen is an athletic second guard and consistent shot-making presence on the wing, while Winslow is a lockdown defender with strength and toughness alike to both play and defend multiple positions. Add those four highly talented freshmen to a strong returning foundation, regardless of who may leave for this year’s NBA draft, and Duke has all the pieces in place to make another run at a national championship during the 2014-15 season.