LAS VEGAS – By all accounts, Houston Hoops wing Justise Winslow has a gentle side to him. But maybe it can’t hurt to get under his skin once in a while.
Winslow put together a monster game today while the Houston Hoops beat the Illinois Old School Carpenter -- 27 points and 14 rebounds, according to goazcats.com totals (yes, just about every UA-focused website was in attendance, as was Sean Miller).
“I just came out a little frustrated off the court and I think that translated, and I played with more fury and passion today,” Winslow said, declining to offer specifics. “I think it just made me play harder. We got the win.”
For those who saw today’s performance, it just might be reminiscent of the way Winslow threw down a memorable dunk during a high school game last season.
The Hoops, which failed in its goal to win last week’s Peach Jam, have another game today at 6:50 p.m. (they're on the left side of the U17 Platinum bracket) and, if they keep winning, can play up to three more Sunday in pursuit of the Las Vegas Classic title -- a tournament organized by none other than Hal Pastner, father of Josh Pastner and founder of the Hoops program.
For Winslow, the performance today was yet another reason why he’s attracted offers all over the country, including from Duke. Already, Winslow made the USA’s U17 World Championship team and helped it win the gold medal while he’s continued to play well for the Hoops, with a versatile game that includes defense, shooting and ballhandling at several spots.
Not only has Arizona offered a scholarship to Winslow but the Wildcats have made him a top priority in the class of 2014. Miller was on hand for the Hoops’ game today, and has hosted Winslow for two unofficial visits already.
“I had one in February and I went back in June because coach Miller wanted me to get back and get to know the other players,” Winslow said. “That was great. Just to see the guys they have coming in.”
Guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright of Southern California and wing Elliott Pitts of the Bay area both said they are planning to visit UA next weekend, when the Wildcats will again be holding full practices in advance of their exhibition trip to the Bahamas.
“I want to see them practice,” said Jackson-Cartwright, a dynamic 5-foot-7 point guard. “I want to get to know the rest of the coaching staff. I’ve spent a lot of time with coach Miller, his expectations for me as a player, and I know he feels I can fit in his system.”
Sacramento wing Dakarai Allen, meanwhile, said he probably would take a visit to Arizona if the Wildcats offer him a scholarship. As of now, UA has not.
San Jose big man Aaron Gordon, who is playing with the Oakland Soldiers, sat out Friday because of injuries to his oblique and toe. "I just really need to rest my body," he said.
Gordon said he's planning to take recruiting visits in September but remains open, with a list that includes Washington, Arizona, Kentucky, Kansas, New Mexico and Stanford.
"Sean Miller is a really good dude," Gordon said. "He knows how to win. And (in his system) if the fours get the rebound they can push the fast break. So that's something I really like."
Dallas wing Keith Frazier pulled double duty this weekend, playing for both the DJH5 team out of Dallas and for the Houston Hoops. On Saturday, he didn’t have an easy time of it, tipping off with DJH5 at 8 a.m., then missing a free throw that sent the game into overtime – and to an eventual loss.
In the afternoon, he had four points in the Hoops’ Winslow-led victory.
“He was a little bit sluggish,” said Steve Trauber, an assistant coach for the Hoops. “Hopefully he’ll get some rest tonight.”